UK Defence Secretary John Healey flees missile attack on Ukraine visit | World | News

During his inaugural visit to Odesa, Ukraine this weekend, Britain’s new Defence Secretary John Healey was compelled to seek refuge in a bomb shelter.

John Healey could never have anticipated that just hours after waiting for the election results in a South Yorkshire sports hall on Thursday night, he would be evading missiles and seeking safety during his Ukrainian journey. In Odesa, he had a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Defence Minister Rustem Umerov.

However, their discussions were abruptly interrupted on Saturday when air raid sirens blared, prompting them to take cover in the basement of a Soviet-era building serving as Mr Umerov’s temporary headquarters.

Despite the nearby missile strikes, Mr Healey maintained his composure and insisted that the talks continue in the basement. Approximately 35 minutes later, they were given the all-clear and returned upstairs.

After the meeting, Mr Healey confirmed that the UK would offer a new support package to Ukraine, including additional artillery pieces, a quarter of a million rounds of ammunition, and nearly 100 Brimstone precision-guided missiles.

Defence Secretary John Healey has ordered an acceleration of the UK’s mammoth military aid to Ukraine, The Sun reports. Officials have been instructed to ensure the comprehensive package promised in April is delivered completely within the forthcoming 100 days.

This record-breaking support includes 400 vehicles, 1600 strike and air defence missilesamong them additional Storm Shadow long-range precision guided missilesfour million rounds of ammunition, and 60 boats, which encompass off-shore raiding craft.

Since the unprovoked attack by Russia, the UK has been steadfast in its support for Ukraine, contributing a staggering £7.6 billion in military aid, reveals. The UKs contribution has been vital for Ukraine’s resilience and self-defence throughout the conflict, notably being the first nation to send modern Western combat tanks and advanced long-range precision guided missiles to their aid.

Under Operation Interflex, since June 2022, the UK has trained more than 42,000 Ukrainian troops, who have now rejoined the fight in their homeland after completing basic military instruction on British soil.

Whilst evasion of missile strikes has become sadly routine for the besieged Ukrainian population, such peril would be a harrowing test for any UK politician, especially one only on their second day at work.

In a stark illustration of the risks involved, Mr Healey’s predecessor Grant Shapps was forced to cancel his visit to Odesa in March due to concerns that Russian intelligence might have caught wind of his itinerary. Shapps suggested that Vladimir Putin nearly hit „perilously close to essentially assassinating two western leaders“, as Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was with President Zelensky of Ukraine at that crucial time.

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