UK sending helicopters to Ukraine for first time

The UK is sending helicopters to Ukraine, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has said, the first piloted aircraft to be sent by the UK since the war began, Report informs referring to BBC.

Three former Sea King helicopters will be provided and the first has already arrived.

In the last six weeks, Ukrainian crews were trained in the UK to fly and maintain the aircraft – to provide search and rescue capabilities.

Wallace said the UK would also send an additional 10,000 artillery rounds.

He made the announcement from Oslo, where he is meeting allies to discuss ongoing military support for Kyiv.

The defense secretary said the artillery rounds would help the Ukrainian armed forces secure recently-liberated territory.

The Sea King was previously used by both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, with the last craft being retired by the Navy in 2018.

Few countries have sent manned aircraft to Ukraine since the start of the conflict, and requests by its government for Western nations to send fighter jets so far remain unanswered.

At the weekend, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used a visit to Kyiv to set out a new £50 million package of defense aid which included 125 anti-aircraft guns and equipment to counter Iranian-supplied drones.

That followed an announcement earlier this month that an additional 1,000 surface-to-air missiles would be sent.

The UK is also supplying Ukrainian troops with winter equipment, including heavy duty sleeping bags and mats, as well as heated accommodation and cold-weather clothing.

Temperatures during winter can fall as low as -20C in parts of Ukraine.

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