British Defence Secretary Says London and Zagreb United in Support to Ukraine

By 1 February 2022
British Defence Secretary Says London and Zagreb United in Support to Ukraine

ZAGREB, 1 Feb 2022 - Croatia and the United Kingdom stand side by side in supporting the right of sovereign states to choose their destiny, the visiting Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, said in Zagreb on Tuesday.

During his official visit to Zagreb, the U.K Defence Secretary and his host, Croatian Defence Minister Mario Banožić, discussed the security situation against a backdrop of growing tensions in Ukraine and the build-up of Russian troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Croatia and Great Britain stand side by side in defending the right of sovereign states to choose their destiny, said Wallace during a news conference in Zagreb on Tuesday while U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson travelled to Kyiv for an official visit to Ukraine.

What is chosen is of secondary importance in relation to the sacred right of choice a sovereign state is entitled to when it comes to its security, Wallace added.

This is a value and right worth advocating, said Wallace, admitting that in the last 18 months he only had a brief four-day holiday and spent those four days on the Croatian island of Korčula.

NATO, the EU and the U.K. are absolutely united in the support to Ukraine's sovereignty, and the Russia-Ukraine crisis must be solved through dialogue, he said.

Banožić said that Croatia could fully understand the current situation of Ukraine, and in this context he recalled Croatia's recent struggle for its independence and its territory.

The two officials signed an agreement on strategic partnership between their departments and the deal regulates the strengthening of the relations within NATO, in the Western Balkans and in coping with the hybrid threats as well as on cooperation in upgrading the interoperability of the two countries' armed forces.

The two ministers called for the continuation of dialogue in the Western Balkans and also pointed out the importance of reforms and the further integration of that region in the EU and NATO.

Wallace reiterated British support to efforts of those two alliances to help restore stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and address the problems bothering Croatia, Serbia and other partners.

Wallace was also received by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.