- UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday said that there were no immediate plans to send British military instructors to Ukraine, reeling back comments made by Defense Minister Grant Shapps that were published earlier in the day.1
- In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph on the subject of British training of Ukrainian troops, Shapps said he'd been having discussions 'about eventually getting the training brought closer and actually into Ukraine.' The minister added that he also wanted to see more British arms firms move manufacturing into Ukraine.2
- The remarks prompted a fiery response from Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's former president and the current deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, who said British instructors would become 'a legal target for our armed forces' and be 'ruthlessly destroyed.'3
- Hours later — seeking to backtrack on the comments made by Shapps — Sunak said that, '[w]hat the defense secretary was saying was that it might well be possible one day in the future for us to do some of that training in Ukraine.' However, he clarified that was 'something for the long term, not the here and now. There are no British soldiers that will be sent to fight in the current conflict.'1
- Despite the assurances, US military documents leaked earlier in the year revealed that as many as 50 UK special forces personnel were deployed in Ukraine. At the time, they made up more than half of the 97 special forces personnel from NATO countries active in the nation.4
- In July of this year, the UK defense ministry admitted that there was a total of 97 British troops deployed in Ukraine.5
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Independent. It is necessary to clear up Shapps's comments after some misreporting. He stated that British training of Ukrainian troops may take place in the country further down the line but, for the time being, it's not being considered. There are no plans to have UK forces fighting in Ukraine.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Declassified media ltd. While the training itself may not yet be taking place in Ukraine, the UK is already deeply involved in supporting the Ukrainian war effort — including through weaponry, intelligence, and even the provision of British troops on the ground. The UK's heavy involvement in the conflict is bringing the country dangerously close to a direct confrontation with Russia.