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UK defense minister warns of 'severe consequences' if Putin wins war in Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk December 24, 2023 6:11 PM 2 min read
UK Defence Minister Grant Shapps speaks during a press conference in central London on Dec. 11, 2023. (Photo by Lucy North/PA Images via Getty Images)
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U.K. Defense Minister Grant Shapps has told the Sunday Times in a Dec. 24 interview that the West "cannot afford" to lose the war in Ukraine and that there would be "severe consequences" if Russian dictator Vladimir Putin wins.

"If we allow Putin to win this war by dragging it out, and he somehow wins it by exhausting everybody else, then we will suffer the consequences. And the consequences would be incredibly severe for Europe, for Britain, for the world," Shapps said, as quoted by the media.

"And the reason I say that is because we know what happens when dictators march across Europe. We know what happens when others look at a weakness or what they perceive to be a weakness, and that could have implications in the Indo-Pacific or elsewhere," he said. "So we can literally not afford not to win this war."

Shapps, who previously served as the U.K. energy secretary, was appointed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Aug. 31, replacing the outgoing Defense Minister Ben Wallace.

According to the Sunday Times, Schapps said the "expenditure on defense across the West, including in the U.K., is insufficient to see off the threat of a resurgent Russia."

The United Kingdom spent 2.3 billion British pounds (about $2.9 billion) on defense assistance to Ukraine last year and has committed the same amount in 2023.

Shapps told the Sunday Times that providing support to Ukraine "isn’t some kind of charity approach."

"I know it’s often called gifting … but it’s actually in our own bloody interests," he said.

In September, Shapps traveled to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky.

It was his second visit to Kyiv and his first in his new role as defense minister. In addition to meeting with Zelensky, Shapps also participated in talks with other Ukrainian officials, including his Ukrainian counterpart, Defense Minister Rustem Umerov.

Back then, he also emphasized that the support of the U.K. for Ukraine "remains unwavering."

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