Boris Johnson has been accused by a former head of the Polish army of “tempting evil” and jeopardizing efforts to support Ukraine in its war against Russia by revealing that Ukrainian soldiers were receiving training in Poland on how to use British anti-aircraft missiles.
General Waldemar Skrzypczak, also a former junior defense minister, said the British prime minister’s comments could threaten the safety of the troops involved with the conflict now in its third month and showing no signs of abating.
Mr Skrzypczak said that Mr Johnson had revealed “a military secret” when he gave details of the Ukrainian training plan during a trip to India last week.
“Military training is a matter of the army, in such a situation secret. Let a man restrain himself and think before he says such things,” Mr Skrzypczak told the Polish tabloid Factwhich portrayed the former general as irritated.
“The prime minister may not be aware of it, but with such statements he puts the success of the entire military operation at risk, as well as the safety of the soldiers,” he said. “Such statements are tempting evil.”
Mr Skrzypczak said he was concerned about how much detail Mr Johnson had been prepared to go into. “It is hard to imagine that when we were on missions abroad, one of the politicians would talk about our plans or training on television.”
Mr Johnson announced last week during his trip to India that for the first time ever, Ukrainian troops on the frontline were being trained to use military equipment on British soil as well as in Poland.
The location of the mission and the exact number of individuals involved – understood to total “around a couple of dozen” – being kept strictly secret for security reasons but Mr Johnson did share that troops were being trained to use anti-aircraft defense and armoured vehicles.
Mr Johnson told reporters: “I can say that we are currently training Ukrainians in Poland in the use of anti-aircraft defence, and actually in the UK in the use of armoured vehicles.”
The Stormer system, designed to fire the UK-manufactured Starstreak high-velocity air defense projectile, was sent to Ukraine as part of the UK’s military assistance package.
Tensions between Russia and the west continue to mount as the Kremlin voiced its frustrations at Nato for supplying weapons to Ukraine.
Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, said Russia was “effectively” at war with Nato because of its military provision to Kyiv and warned that the risk of nuclear war is now “considerable.
Russian president Vladimir Putin went further by warning the west of Russia’s “lightning fast” retaliation to anyone interfering with its “special operation” in Ukraine.
The Russian president said: “If someone intends to intervene into the ongoing events [in Ukraine] from the outside and creates unacceptable threats for us, then they should know that our response to those strikes will be swift, lightning fast.”