U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Oct. 1 that there were no current plans to send British troops to Ukraine, even in a limited capacity as trainers.
In comments to The Telegraph, Sunak walked back recent remarks from newly appointed Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, who expressed interest in the idea of sending British military trainers to Ukraine in an interview on Sept. 30.
Sunak clarified that the Shapps' comments should be considered as pertaining for a long-term partnership with Ukraine. There could be trainers on the ground sometime in the future, Sunak said, but stressed that "there are no British soldiers that will be sent to fight in the current conflict.”
In response to Shapps' suggestion, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Telegram that any British troops on the ground in Ukraine would be considered legitimate targets.
The U.K. has trained over 20,000 Ukrainian troops since the start of the full-scale invasion, according to the British Defense Ministry.
At the start of 2023, the U.K. said it would train 20,000 more Ukrainian troops, making it "one of the largest training programs in the world," according to the Defense Ministry.