Shapps: No chance of losing focus on Ukraine despite conflict in Israel

By Isaac M October 11, 2023

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has said there is “no chance” of losing focus on the war in Ukraine despite conflict in Israel and Gaza.

The Cabinet minister said it would be a “massive mistake” for Russian President Vladimir Putin to think the world’s attention is “in any way distracted and that should somehow give him a free hand”.

Mr Shapps is in Brussels for a meeting with his Nato counterparts, where he is also due to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and attend his first Nato-Ukraine Council.


No chance of us forgetting what’s going on in Europe, whilst we rightly also think about and support our friends and colleagues in Israel

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps

Speaking to broadcasters on Wednesday morning, Mr Shapps insisted that, although the UK is offering support to Israel following the recent attack by Hamas, the world cannot be “distracted” or lose focus on the situation in Ukraine.

The International Fund for Ukraine, administered by the Ministry of Defence, has announced its partner nations are providing a further £100 million package of support for Ukraine, which will include equipment to clear minefields.

Speaking to LBC about concerns that the situation in Israel may take focus away from Ukraine, Mr Shapps said: “It’s an obvious concern to have. It’s not going to happen.

“And that’s because people, like the United Kingdom, the British public, who’ve been so generous when it comes to Ukraine, understand that this is a battle that Putin must not win. We have to win this battle, ultimately, for all of our sakes.”

He added: “It’s extraordinarily important that our focus remains.

“Countries like the United Kingdom are first amongst many in terms of our support. I was in Kyiv meeting President Zelensky a couple of weeks ago with him there.

“So no chance of us forgetting what’s going on in Europe, whilst we rightly also think about and support our friends and colleagues in Israel.”


It would be a massive mistake for Putin to imagine for one moment that the world’s attention is in any way distracted and that should somehow give him a free hand

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps

Mr Shapps, speaking to Times Radio, said UK support for Ukraine will continue, and that it is important “the world’s attention is not distracted by what’s happening in the Middle East, vital and important and supportive as we are there”.

He earlier told GB News: “We will not lose sight of, and will not be forgetting, what is happening right here in Europe.

“And it would be a massive mistake for Putin to imagine for one moment that the world’s attention is in any way distracted and that should somehow give him a free hand.”

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