Ukraine Update Debate

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Department: Ministry of Defence
Thursday 20th October 2022

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ben Wallace Portrait Mr Wallace
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We have trained 7,000 so far. We are on target to complete 10,000, and then another 20,000-plus next year. It often depends on whether the Ukrainians are able to give us the training pipeline. Some of these people will be coming off the frontlines. It is always a challenge, but we are in the right position. We are well supported by the international community, and it is making a difference. We are now looking at what we can do with larger units, by helping Ukraine to train at company and battalion level. That would probably happen within Europe.

Hilary Benn Portrait Hilary Benn (Leeds Central) (Lab)
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In describing Russia’s increased targeting of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, which we learned this morning has led to restrictions on power supply, the Secretary of State referred to the sheer quantity of cruise missiles and drones that are being used in those attacks. Is it now a question of increasing the equipment and capability he has announced to the House today to enable Ukraine better to resist those attacks, or are there other capabilities—he referred to some—that could be supplied or that Ukraine has requested?

Ben Wallace Portrait Mr Wallace
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From the international community, for example, Ukraine has consistently requested some of Israel’s electronic warfare capability. It is regrettable that, at the moment, Israel has not chosen to do that. I will be seeing the Israeli ambassador in the next few weeks to try to press the case.

One of the challenges I have talked about is the proliferation of precision weapons into the hands of basically low-level troops. We have highly sophisticated, complex weapons that take months to make and were originally designed to shoot down fighter aircraft. When they are used against fairly cheap, mass drones, Ukraine will run out of them quicker than they can be replaced. That is one of the lessons, and it is why electronic warfare to jam, divert or take over these things plays an important part. That is why we will all be looking at our capabilities and thinking about future challenges. It is as much about how we are going to do that as about how we can help the Ukrainians. Right now, we are helping the Ukrainians, and what we have learned is coming back into our system for ourselves.