Ukraine Update Debate

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Department: Ministry of Defence
Thursday 20th October 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ben Wallace Portrait Mr Wallace
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Yes; making sure we have more aircraft fighter capability in this country has been one of my priorities. On almost my first day in the job, I sent a letter to the Chief of the Air Staff stating that his No. 1 priority was to improve the fighter pilot pipeline; there is no point in buying planes if there is no one to fly them. It is incredibly important that we get those pilots.

Of course one of the challenges with the new F-35 is growing instructors. It is a Catch-22: there have to be enough pilots in the planes to grow the instructor body, but if there are not enough pilots in the first place, how do we do that? We are getting there, and the situation is improving. The Typhoon is proving its worth every single week. I went to the ceremony to hand over to Qatar the next iteration of the Typhoon. It is a formidable aircraft, which I hope will be bought by many other countries around the world.

Feryal Clark Portrait Feryal Clark (Enfield North) (Lab)
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The Secretary of State touched on the help that we are providing. Will he elaborate on that? He talked about equipment. What are we doing to provide small diesel generators to ensure that key services such as hospitals or water cleaning plants keep going, given Russia’s attack on civilian infrastructure?

Ben Wallace Portrait Mr Wallace
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Non-lethal military aid is collected and corralled in the same place as military aid: through the international donor cell based in Germany—a multinational cell staffed predominantly by military and civil servants who collect the ask from Ukraine, which they try to match with donors. That is predominantly for military and non-lethal military aid, which includes generators, field hospitals and medical stuff. Predominantly, that is related to the war effort.

I will make sure that we write to the hon. Lady with the broader detail of what other assistance is happening. I visited Ukraine about three or four weeks ago. People there were in a pretty good mindset about their ability to see through the winter, but the use of Iranian mass drones will have an effect if it continues and we must make sure that that does not catch up.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I forgot to answer the question about sanctions put by the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Brendan O’Hara). My understanding is that the Foreign Secretary will make a statement about that in the near future.