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Britain in talks to sell arms to Ukraine for first time

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A Ukrainian soldier pictured on the frontline against Russian separatists in the Lugansk region earlier this month. There are growing fears that Russia could attempt to annex more territory belonging to Kiev - GETTY IMAGES
A Ukrainian soldier pictured on the frontline against Russian separatists in the Lugansk region earlier this month. There are growing fears that Russia could attempt to annex more territory belonging to Kiev - GETTY IMAGES

Britain could sell missiles to Ukraine for the first time after it emerged on Wednesday night that the two countries were discussing the supply of arms.

The Ministry of Defence is in talks with its Ukranian counterparts about the supply of surface-to-surface maritime Brimstone missiles and air-to-surface Brimstone missiles, according to a report in The Times.

A Ukrainian defence source told the newspaper the missile sale would represent the first time that Britain had sold weapons to the eastern European country.

The missiles are designed by MBDA UK which is based in France but manufacturing and design also occurs in Britain.

The proposed deal comes amid concerns that Russia could exploit the gas crisis shortage to seize more Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine currently acts as a transit for Russia’s gas pipeline but if the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea becomes operational, President Putin will no longer be reliant on Kiev to supply gas to Europe, putting the country at risk of further hostile Russian action.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline could leave Ukraine vulnerable to Moscow - REUTERS
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline could leave Ukraine vulnerable to Moscow - REUTERS

Downing Street has previously raised concern about the impact Nord Stream 2 would have on Ukraine.

Earlier this month, a spokesperson said: “Ukraine currently hosts the largest existing pipeline network for Russian gas, and transit fees have historically made up a significant proportion of Ukraine’s GDP.

“Nord Stream 2 would divert supplies away from Ukraine, with significant consequences for its economy. It could also have significant security implications.”

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