United Kingdom & Emirates strike deals with Ukraine to arm and instruct military

The United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates have struck substantial deals to better equip Ukraine’s armed forces as the country seeks to rapidly equip, train, and modernize its military in the face of war with Russia. In separate deals, the UAE will supply Ukraine with armaments and military hardware, while the Britain will provide necessary medical, intelligence, logistics and infantry training.

The deployment of up to 75 British Armed Forces personnel to Ukraine will begin as soon as next week as part of what the Ministry of Defense called a “training mission.” While a seemingly small contingent, the deployment of British troops to Ukraine would mark a significant boost in assistance relative to the benign non-lethal aid received to date.

“Over the course of the next month we’re going to be deploying British service personnel to provide advice and a range of training, to tactical intelligence to logistics, to medical care,” British Prime Minister Cameron told lawmakers during a session of parliament. “We’ll also be developing an infantry training program with Ukraine to improve the durability of their forces.”

In parallel to Cameron’s statements, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced the signing of a deal on military and technical cooperation with the United Arab Emirates during a tour of the IDEX 2015 arms expo in Abu Dhabi. Details on the much needed arms deal were scarce, with Ukrainian interior minister Anton Herashchenko vaguely noting it would involve the “delivery of certain types of armaments and military hardware to Ukraine.”

Ukrainian and UAE companies have previously worked together in the development and production of BTR-3 personnel carriers. Notably, the UAE Army maintains the second largest detachment of Russian-made BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles in the world outside of Russia.

Poroshenko had also reportedly planned to meet with chief Pentagon weapons buyer, Frank Kendall, at the show with the intent of finally securing U.S. weaponry to defend Ukraine from the ongoing Russian invasion.

In addition, Ukrainian companies were involved in several multi-million dollar contracts, including joint development of Superhind Mi-24 attack helicopters with a South African firm, as the country aims to expedite its military modernization process, Poroshenko later said in a news release. Ukraine’s Air Force has been battered in the conflict.

The Ukraine deals coincide with a flurry of activity to bolster military support in the Baltics, with Lithuania announcing a planned reintroduction of military conscription. The Lithuanian government’s motion will see its armed forces increase by 45% in size. Meanwhile, U.S. Soldiers from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment took part in a joint parade with Estonian forces in Narva, a city directly on the border with Russia. It was the second time U.S. forces took part in the annual parade, marking the 97th anniversary of Estonian Independence.

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U.S. forces in Narva, Estonia during the military parade

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Russian colonel Zhirinovsky threatens "total annihilation" of Baltics & Poland

Appearing on a talkshow on Russia’s Rossiya 24 network, Colonel Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), issued a series of threats towards the European Union’s easternmost states.

On the show, Zhirinovsky, who is known for his controversial statements, threatened and suggested launching pre-emptive strikes against the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as Poland. He justified the remarks by suggesting that Russia “cannot allow” peripheral nations’ missile defenses and air forces to be within striking distance of Russia, and that Russia should seek to destroy them ‘a half hour before they launch.’

The language used in the broadcast was especially inciteful, not only calling for the carpet bombing of the four countries, but their entire annihilation.

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“What will remain of the Baltics? Nothing will remain…in Poland, the Baltics, they are doomed. They’ll be wiped out.”

“Let the leaders of these dwarf states reconsider this. Eastern European states will place themselves under the threat of total annihilation, and only they will be to blame.”

“…we’ll have to teach them the lessons of May 1945.”

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Recall that Zhirinovsky has personally aided Russian insurgent groups in Luhansk, and his party has openly set up terrorist training camps in the embattled Luhansk region. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry launched criminal charges against him in July for financing these groups.

The LDPR is Russia’s fourth largest political party.