British troops will be deployed in Ukraine to train soldiers fighting Russian separatists, David Cameron has said, as he delivered an extraordinary warning to Vladimir Putin over his continued aggression in eastern Europe.
The Prime Minister said that there would be “deeply damaging” consequences for all of Europe if the EU fails to stand up to Mr Putin in Ukraine, predicting that the Russian president could turn against the Baltic states or Moldova if he is not reined in now.
He warned that Mr Putin has opted out of the “rules-based system” of the twenty-first century and warned that the Russian president must expect consequences.
Mr Cameron also said that British air defences can “absolutely” protect the country from the Russian planes, which have been making incursions along the UK coast in recent weeks.
Downing Street said that around 75 UK troops will travel to Ukraine to help with medical, intelligence, logistics and infantry skills.
Giving evidence to the Commons Liaison Committee, Mr Cameron said: “We are not at the stage of supplying lethal equipment.
“We have announced a whole series of non-lethal equipment, night-vision goggles, body armour, which we have already said that we will give to Ukraine.
“Over the course of the next month we are going to be deploying British service personnel to provide advice and a range of training, from tactical intelligence to logistics to medical care, which is something else they have asked for.
“We will also be developing an infantry training programme with Ukraine to improve the durability of their forces.
“This will involve a number of British service personnel, they will be away from the area of conflict but I think this is the sort of thing we should be helping with.”