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New team created by defence chiefs to rapidly provide weapons to Ukraine in bitter war

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The Ministry of Defence has created a new Operations Directorate to source weapons for Kyiv. Among those working on the new team are military personnel who played crucial roles in the UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Daily Express understands.

It is bringing together specialist “rapid procurement” teams with military personnel who can get the equipment to Ukrainian troops.

This means specialists who worked on the buying of PPE for NHS staff could now also be involved in sourcing winter equipment for Ukrainian troops, as well as weapons and ammunition.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace wants the defence industry to step up production of vital military equipment amid fears Western nations have depleted their own stocks by supplying aid to Ukraine. 

Major General Anna-Lee Reilly has been promoted to lead the Operations Directorate.

Andy Start, the CEO of Defence Equipment and Support, told military employees: “Our people have been working with agility and dedication as we have gifted, delivered and procured tens of thousands of weapons, vehicles, equipment and supplies to and for our allies in Eastern Europe in the face of the unprovoked Russian invasion.

“Their efforts and teamwork, both internally and with industry, has been nothing short of amazing. Ukraine’s brave and increasingly successful defence of their homeland means the war is at a critical crossroads and our support is as important as ever.

“And, in response to this ongoing urgent requirement, we are ramping up that response even further with a new Operations Directorate.

“Incorporating and building upon the existing Operations Team, this represents a significant increase in capability for DE&S and a clear move to a longer-term ‘campaign footing’ in support of Ukraine.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said the UK will continue to provide military aid to the government in Kyiv, with another £2.3 billion worth of support due next year to help it acquire the weapons it needs.

“We recently donated thousands of anti-air missiles so we can bring down these drones,” he said as Ukrainian officials said on Thursday the Russians had launched more than 120 missiles at their country.

“At the same time, Britain is providing their knowledge and expertise about making sure we coordinate better the air defence on the ground.

“But also, in parallel, it’s making sure that Ukraine can win on the ground, that it can push back Russia’s forces.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “The Operations Directorate is a team in Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) which manages our support to global operations, including the rapid procurement of equipment for the UK’s military and humanitarian commitments, alongside our allies and partners.”



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