UK military to improve thanks to Ukraine ‘battle lab’ – minister

The UK is learning from Ukraine in order to improve its own armed forces, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said, as he presented an updated national military strategy document to Parliament.

Ukraine has “tragically become a battle lab” for military technology, Wallace, who intends to step down during the next cabinet reshuffle, told MPs on Tuesday. He was presenting to fellow lawmakers the new version of the Defence Command Paper, first published in 2021.

“In this refresh we are focused on how to drive the lessons of Ukraine into our core business,” Wallace added. The British military is “enabling a culture of innovation,” he claimed, explaining one of the four key modernization directions outlined by his department.

“Following Ukraine’s footsteps, we are increasing the sourcing of those £100 solutions that can stop 100 million [pound] threats in their tracks, winning both the kinetic and economic exchange of modern warfare,” Wallace stated.

The plan also seeks increased investment in military personnel, closer cooperation with the defense industry, and a boost in productivity within the department.

Senior Ukrainian officials, including Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov, have touted their nation as a natural testing ground for Western-made weapons.

“We are interested in testing modern systems in the fight against [Russia] and we are inviting the arms manufacturers to test their new products here,” the Ukrainian minister told the pro-NATO Atlantic Council lobby group last month. “Give us the tools, we will finish the job and you will have new information.”

Wallace is among the most enthusiastic public supporters of Ukraine, and has consistently expressed certainty that it would prevail in the conflict with Russia.

During the parliamentary debate on Tuesday, the minister claimed that the measures formulated by his office would allow the UK to obtain military capabilities faster and be more agile in deploying them globally. Britain’s activities would be linked to those of its allies, he insisted.

“In the future, we will be allied by design and national by exception. Our support for NATO will remain ironclad,” Wallace pledged.

Moscow has blamed NATO’s expansion for triggering hostilities with Ukraine. By supplying weapons to Kiev, the US and its allies are prolonging the conflict but will not change its outcome, Russian officials have said. Moscow also accused the British government of being instrumental in derailing peace talks with Ukraine last year.

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