Thursday 20th October 2022

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ben Wallace Portrait Mr Wallace
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Yes. My hon. Friend was brave asking that question of a soldier—I have often had answers people did not expect. He espouses the real professionalism of our men and women. We were always taught, and I have never forgotten this, that it was, “My men, my kit, myself.” I hope Members will forgive the gender issue there. That shows the difference between us and the Russians: they do not seem to care about their men and their women, and seem to care only about themselves. That is why we see their army doing what they are doing. It is incredibly important that we have ready, capable equipment—that is the point I make to the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman): it is not just about mass and it has to be about things being properly serviced and maintained. The job that my hon. Friend’s constituent was doing is one of the key things—he is an enabler. In the past, it was the enablers they hollowed out, as long as they could talk about having a “frontline regiment” or “frontline tank regiment”. However, if you do not have the transporters, there is no point in having lots of tanks, because you will not go anywhere.

Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)
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I thank the Secretary of State for his statement. It is encouraging for all of us in this House to know that we have a Secretary of State who is very much committed, in every sense, to ensuring that Ukraine has everything it needs. Is there any further support that he can and will make available to ensure that the damage left by the drone attacks that were designed to disrupt power and water supplies is repaired urgently? This might not necessarily be a Ministry of Defence thing, but this is about repairing the damage and ensuring that these supplies are not attacked again. Can he make that happen with any manpower, expertise and supplies, in order to thwart Putin’s determination to leave Ukrainians in the dark and with no water?

Ben Wallace Portrait Mr Wallace
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The positive side is that the Ukrainians are incredibly skilled at being able to fix, repair and build their equipment. In many cases they have managed to turn around the shortages of electricity in a matter of days and Putin has not been successful. On wider skills, I offered at one stage to send Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, not into Ukraine but into neighbouring countries to assist with the refurbishment of tanks and such things. Those are some of the skills we can provide. In my experience, this is about “Mechanics, mechanics, mechanics”, as they will fix a Challenger tank as quickly as they will fix a T-72. They are always on offer; if the Ukrainians ask, we will be happy to help.