Ukrainian MP urges new Defence Secretary Shapps to ‘personally visit Ukraine’

Ukrainian MP urges new Defence Secretary Shapps to ‘personally visit Ukraine’

A Ukrainian MP has urged newly appointed Defence Secretary Grant Shapps to “personally come to Ukraine” to establish good relations.

It comes after Ben Wallace formally resigned from his position on Thursday, prompting a mini-reshuffle.

Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun considered Mr Wallace a “friend” of Ukraine and expressed her gratitude for his time as defence secretary after four years.

Speaking from Kyiv, she told the PA news agency: “Ben Wallace is a friend to Ukraine and we very much appreciate everything that he has done.”

She has urged Mr Shapps to visit Ukraine to gain a “better understanding” of the situation.

She said: “I think that for him personally coming here (to Ukraine) to talk to… the minister of defence of Ukraine, Ukrainian military, members of parliament, the president, that this will give him a better feel of the challenges that we are facing, and it will help him build a better understanding of how to move forward with it.

“I also hope he meets the military personnel directly, not just the top officials, because I think this will give a better feeling of the commitment of the Ukrainian military.”

Ms Sovsun, deputy leader of the Holos Party, also hopes Mr Shapps will express himself as “a strong leader” to ensure the allyship between Ukraine and the UK remains firm.

She said: “I very much hope he would be able to establish himself as a strong leader of the coalition as Ben Wallace has been.

“The UK has always been, historically, good at fighting autocratic regimes threatening Europe and I very much hope that this tradition will continue.”

She hopes for “increased support for Ukraine in terms of weapons delivery because this is the single issue that can lessen the number of casualties on our side”.

Ms Sovsun urged Mr Shapps and people in the UK to “remember” the hardships that Ukrainians continue to face on a daily basis after she “woke up from explosions”.

“Yesterday night, I woke up from explosions in Kyiv,” she said.

“My partner is on the front line, so I think about him and I’m constantly worried about him.

“This is daily reality for us, even if it’s not reported daily, and it’s as scary as it was a year ago when it was all over the news.

“I think what he (Mr Shapps) needs to remember is that Ukraine has suffered through so much. Almost two years of intense war; we deserve to win this war.”

The MP from Ukraine spoke of her “daily nightmare” after losing friends in the war and hopes that the UK’s support “will not wane”.

She said: “We are fighting ourselves, but we need the continued support of the UK.

“We just hope that this support will not wane and that this issue will not be some issue in the background, because it’s not for us.

“I just want the UK to remember that this is still an ongoing nightmare for all of us, a daily nightmare for every single one of us.

“It’s not getting any less traumatic and it’s not getting better just because it’s not being reported as widely in the media.”