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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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.

Tom Hunt Portrait Tom Hunt (Ipswich) (Con)
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I had the great privilege of attending a delegation to the Tapa British Army base in Estonia last week. We met His Majesty’s ambassador to Estonia, who is doing a fantastic job. There is obviously huge affection between the peoples of Estonia and Ukraine, as we saw when we had the great privilege of attending the Ukrainian ballet.

I also met my constituent, Laurence, at the Tapa army base. He is in 19 Tank Transporter Squadron, and I asked him, “How can I help you? What message can I take back to the Secretary of State for Defence?” His whole thought was about the vehicles and how they are looked after, protected and maintained; it was not about himself. Will the Secretary of State join me in respecting the dedication of Laurence, everyone in 19 Tank Transporter Squadron and every one of those proud British armed services personnel working at the Tapa army base to keep us and the people of Estonia safe?

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.