UK sends helicopters to Ukraine in sign of ‘unwavering support’

Ukraine: There is 'interior resistance against occupants' says Ariev

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Britain is sending helicopters to Ukraine in a bid to step up its support as Kyiv continues to battle against Vladimir Putin’s invasion, a report has revealed. The support package will include Sea King helicopters and 10,000 rounds of artillery shells.

According to the Times, three helicopters will eventually be delivered to Ukraine and the first is already in the ex-Soviet state.

The Westland WS-61 Sea King is around 22 metres long and weighs approximately 6,201 kilograms.

The aircraft is powered by two Rolls-Royce Gnome engines and can reach 129 miles per hour when cruising at sea level.

Westland WS-61 Sea King’s are no longer manufactured but cost around £5million to refurbish at current market prices.

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Prince Andrew flew one during his involvement in the Falklands War.

The helicopters also saw action in the Gulf War, the Balkans conflict and the Iraq War.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace unveiled a new package of support ahead of a meeting with his European counterparts in Norway.

Britain will host ministers from 12 European countries aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, including representatives from Germany and Poland.

The meeting will see defence ministers discuss furthering support for Kyiv and countering the threat from Moscow.

Mr Wallace also claimed that 10,000 additional shells alongside recent commitments to supply 1,000 surface-to-air missiles and 125 anti-aircraft guns would help Ukraine defend the territory taken around Kherson.

The Defence Secretary said: “Our support for Ukraine is unwavering.

“These additional artillery rounds will help Ukraine to secure the land it has reclaimed from Russia in recent weeks.”

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The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has also suggested that Russia could be left vulnerable by a reported Ukrainian attack at an oil terminal in Novorossiysk.

In an intelligence update, the MoD said: “Russian commanders will likely be concerned about threats to the Novorossiysk-based amphibious landing ship flotilla.

“These vessels are relatively vulnerable without escorts and have assumed a more important role in supplying Russian forces in Ukraine since the Kerch Bridge was damaged in October.”

The update added: “It would also further undermine Russia’s already reduced maritime influence in the Black Sea.”

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