This is the moment Boris Johnson hurled a grenade and handled an anti-tank missile launcher during a trip to a British Army base in North Yorkshire this week.
The outgoing prime minister was visiting Ukrainian troops who are being trained by the UK as their country’s war against Vladimir Putin’s Russia rages on.
In a video shared from his official account, the PM can be seen donning full camouflage gear and tactical headphones as he tries out an assortment of weapons under the watchful eye of British commanders.
His trip came just days after he agreed to quit following a wave of resignations in the wake of the Chris Pincher scandal, sparking a bitter Tory leadership battle which has seen a host of contenders whittled down to his former chancellor Rishi Sunak and trusted foreign secretary Liz Truss.
It is also the ousted premier’s second military exercise to be revealed this week, after a video was released of him giving his best ‘Top Gun’ impression from the cockpit of Typhoon fighter jet on Monday.
In a video shared from his official account, the PM can be seen donning full camouflage gear and tactical headphones as he tries out an assortment of weapons under the watchful eye of British commanders (Pictured: PM handles an NLAW anti-tank missile launcher)
Mr Johnson takes aim with grenade in hand during a training exercise with British and Ukrainian troops in North Yorkshire
Mr Johnson launches a grenade while donning full camouflage gear and noise-cancelling headphones during his visit to British and Ukrainian troops this week
Mr Johnson chats with Ukrainian and British soldiers while being shown the ropes of a grenade machine gun
Boris Johnson gave a thumbs up as he sat in the cockpit of a Typhoon fighter jet during a flight from RAF Coningsby last week
Mr Johnson even compared his recent thrill-seeking to his turbulent time in Number 10 in a speech to business leaders
In the video released today, the PM can be seen taking part in a training exercise in a mock-up urban environment.
At one point, an animated Mr Johnson removes the pin from a dummy grenade before giving it his best throw.
He is then seen being shown how to operate a lethal NLAW anti-tank missile launcher before being talked through the mechanics of a grenade machine gun.
Mr Johnson wrote alongside the video on Twitter: ‘This week I visited Ukrainian troops being trained by British Armed Forces in North Yorkshire.
‘The UK is committed to doing all we can to help Ukraine continue to repel Russian aggression.’
The PM has made supporting Ukraine a lynchpin of his foreign policy and has formed a close relationship with president Volodymyr Zelensky after pledging more military support than any other country bar the US.
He also twice visited the comedian-turned war time leader in Kiev, in April and in June.
In another show of solidarity, Mr Johnson delivered a message to the Ukrainian people in today’s video.
He says in the clip: ‘I just want you to know that the people of the United Kingdom support the people of Ukraine and support you in your fight.
Mr Johnson handles an anti-tank missile launcher during his visit to the North Yorkshire Army base
The outgoing PM appeared to have some fans in the barracks as he was pictured signing their uniforms
Outgoing PM takes aim with a grenade launcher under the watchful eye of British soldier
Mr Johnson gives it his best shot as he throws a grenade
Boris Johnson taking part in a military training exercise involving British and Ukrainian troops at a base in North Yorkshire
The ousted PM trials a lethal grenade machine gun during a tour of an Army base this week
Mr Johnson speaks directly to the camera to explain that he has been meeting some of the 400 Ukrainian troops being trained at the base in North Yorkshire
Mr Johnson is seen standing with hundreds of Ukrainian troops, whose faces have been blurred to protect their identities, before shouting ‘long live Ukraine’ in Ukrainian
In the video released today, the PM can be seen taking part in a training exercise in a mock-up urban environment
The PM signs the uniform of a soldier during his visit to an Army training base in North Yorkshire
The PM delivers a speech to hundreds of soldiers following his participation in a training exercise
Hundreds of soldiers listen attentively as the outgoing PM delivers a speech in support of Ukraine
‘And I am absolutely convinced that you can win and that you will win.’
He later speaks directly to the camera to explain that he has been meeting some of the 400 Ukrainian troops being trained at the base.
He said the scheme was part of Britain’s ‘huge commitment’ to Ukrainian forces, adding that the UK wants to train around 10,000 of them over the next four months.
Britain is also supporting the eastern European country with weaponry, he added, including 6,900 anti-tank weapons, 120 armoured vehicles and multiple launch rocket systems.
Mr Johnson said he hopes the help is starting to ‘push back on Putin’s evil attack on Ukraine.’
He added: ‘I know that in the end the Ukrainian people are going to succeed. I know that the Ukrainian forces are going to succeed.
‘I’m very proud of the role that the UK has been able to play so far, but in the end, this is thanks to the bravery and the heroism of these Ukrainian troops.’
In the video, Mr Johnson said the training programme was part of Britain’s ‘huge commitment’ to Ukrainian forces, adding that the UK wants to train around 10,000 of them over the next four months
Mr Johnson said he hopes the training and weapons are starting to ‘push back on Putin’s evil attack on Ukraine’ (Pictured: PM during training exercise)
The PM takes aim with an anti-tank missile launcher during his visit to a North Yorkshire training ground
Mr Johnson follows a group of soldiers brandishing assault rifles as they enter the building of a mock-up urban environment
The PM chats to soldiers during an exercise to train some of the 400 Ukrainian troops at the base
He is then seen standing with hundreds of Ukrainian troops, whose faces have been blurred to protect their identities, before shouting ‘long live Ukraine’ in Ukrainian.
It comes after footage released earlier this week revealed how the outgoing Prime Minister took delight in his joy ride in the £75million RAF aircraft last week.
Mr Johnson even compared his recent thrill-seeking to his turbulent time in Number 10 in a speech to business leaders on Monday morning.
The PM, who has just seven weeks left in office, told an audience at Farnborough Air Show how he had performed ‘some pretty difficult, if not astonishing feats’.
But he acknowledged it was now time to ‘hand over the controls seamlessly to someone else’ as Tory MPs continued their battle to replace him.
As his time in office draws to a close, Mr Johnson was given a flight in a Typhoon – which has a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 – last Thursday during his visit to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
A video of the PM being given a demonstration of the jet’s capabilities shows him soaring above the clouds as he gives a thumbs up to an adjacent aircraft.
Mr Johnson took the flight in the company of Wing Commander Paul Hanson.
He told the audience at Farnborough Air Show on Monday how they went ‘straight up like a vertical firecracker’ when the pair took off in the Typhoon.
‘We generally put it’s through its paces,’ the PM said as he described the flight in a light-hearted speech.
‘After a while, the wing commander said to me: ‘Do you want to have a go?’
‘And I said, ‘Are you sure? It seems very expensive to me. I think we only have 148 of them and they cost £75million a pop’.
‘And he said: ‘Don’t worry, you can’t break it’. So I thought, ‘oh well, famous last words’.
‘I pushed the joystick right over to the right and we did an aileron roll. Then I hauled the joystick right back and we did a fantastic loop the loop.
‘Then I did a more complicated thing called a barrel roll – I pushed the stick up and right a bit.
‘We started to pull a ‘few Gs’ as they say, quite a few Gs.’
The PM then quipped: ‘And when I came back to consciousness, I could see the sea getting closer and closer and I started to dream about this incredible forest of windfarms I could see all over the North Sea.’
The PM took a look at a VX4 vertical aerospace aircraft during his visit to Farnborough Air Show
Mr Johnson toured the event as he counts down the number of weeks he has left in Number 10
The PM spoke with business leaders at the Hampshire event
Mr Johnson’s flight in a Typhoon – which has a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 – took place on Thursday during his visit to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire
The PM claimed he did a loop the loop, an aileron roll and a barrel roll when given control of the aircraft
The PM described to an audience how he went ‘straight up like a vertical firecracker’ when he took off in the Typhoon
Savour his farewell bon mots:
- On the backstabbers: We got Brexit done and though the rejoiners and the revengers were left plotting and planning and biding their time – and I’ll have more to say about the events of the last few weeks and months in due course – we delivered on every single one of our promises.
- On Brexit: Some people will say that this is the end of Brexit… and the Leader of the Opposition and the deep state will prevail in its plot to haul us back into alignment with the EU as a prelude to our eventual return… and we on this side of the House will prove them wrong, won’t we?
- On Covid crisis: A pandemic that was global, whose origins we do not fully understand but were nothing to do with the British people, and if anything the result of distant misbehaviour involving bats or pangolins, and whose spread was appallingly difficult to manage, and this Government never gave up through wave after wave.
- On Tory leadership: After three dynamic and exhilarating years in the cockpit, we will find a new leader… And the vast twin Rolls-Royce engines of our Tory message, our Conservative values, will roar on – strong public services on the left, and a dynamic free market enterprise economy on the right, each boosting the other and developing trillions of pounds of thrust.
- On Corbyn: Since our last encounters I can tell him I am proud that we have actually got unemployment down… to record lows. I know that he would rather have people on benefits, but I don’t think that’s the way forward.
- On Ukraine: If it is true that I’m more popular on the streets of Kyiv right now than I am in Kensington – if – that is because of the foresight and boldness of this government in becoming the first European country to send them weapons…
- When the people of Ukraine have won it’ll also be a victory of right over wrong and of good over evil, and I think this Government saw it clearly and saw it whole and saw it faster than many other parts of the world, and that is why I have confidence in this Government.
- On Labour: By the way, I have absolutely zero confidence in the Opposition.
- On the big calls: This Government has fought some of the hardest yards in modern political history, we’ve had to take some of the bleakest decisions since the war and I believe we got the big calls right.
Mr Johnson hailed his Government’s ambitions for green energy to end ‘any dependence on (Vladimir) Putin whatsoever’ in keeping the National Grid going.
But, noting how both his Typhoon flight and his time in No10 had come to an end, he added: ‘This reverie must have gone on for quite a while because my colleague said ‘I’m taking back control now’ and we headed happily home.’
Mr Johnson later made light of the Tory revolt that has seen him forced out of Downing Street.
‘I leave it to you to imagine who at this stage I would like to send into orbit,’ he added in this morning’s speech.
‘Perhaps a volunteer can be found from the green benches of Parliament. I leave that entirely to you, into your speculation.’
After his Typhoon flight last Thursday, the PM hosted a farewell BBQ at his Chequers country retreat on Sunday for loyalist MPs and No10 aides.
The around 130 guests were said to have enjoyed burgers and English sparkling wine in the Buckinghamshire sunshine.
Mr Johnson was attacked by Labour for having ‘clearly clocked off’ during his final weeks in No10 even as the UK faced extreme heat this week.
Shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy continued a row over Mr Johnson’s absence from emergency Cobra meetings on the heatwave.
She told Sky News: ‘We think the Government ought to do a number of things: first is to turn up to work.’
Ms Nandy claimed Mr Johnson had ‘clearly clocked off’, adding: ‘And so have many of his ministers in his Government.’
Downing Street later defended Mr Johnson for not chairing Cobra meetings on the heatwave while finding time to take a ride in a Typhoon fighter jet.
The PM’s official spokesman was unable to say what is in Mr Johnson’s diary at the time Kit Malthouse, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, chairs a Cobra meeting at 2.30pm today.
The spokesman said: ‘Kit Malthouse has made the point that he is taking the lead on the Government’s response to the heatwave.
‘He’s keeping the PM fully briefed including over the weekend when the PM also spoke to a number of secretaries of state about the work they are doing.
‘And it is not unusual in Cabinet Government for Cabinet ministers to chair these sorts of things.’
Asked about Mr Johnson’s Typhoon flight, the spokesman said: ‘The Typhoon’s quick alert reaction role is an integral part of both UK and Nato security and the PM does have a specific role in directing RAF action in worst-case scenarios.
‘So it is important he is aware of some of these capabilities they have.’
Asked if he needs first-hand experience to understand this, the spokesman said: ‘It’s important that he has a detailed understanding of the working capabilities of the RAF.’
The British arms giving Putin a bloody nose: How UK has helped Ukraine with £2.3BN of military aid from anti-tank missiles to tanks and night vision goggles
By Jack Wright for MailOnline
Boris Johnson’s Government has provided more than £2billion of arms to wartorn Ukraine including anti-tank missiles and night-vision goggles, and plans to send hundreds of drones and anti-tank weapons in the coming weeks to help the European democracy fend off Putin’s war of aggression.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace today laid bare the scale of Britain’s military aid to Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration since the Russian invasion on February 24.
The British Ministry of Defence revealed it has sent Kyiv more than 6,900 anti-tank missiles, 16,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, 5,000 night-vision goggles, 120 Armoured Fighting Vehicles and six Stormer vehicles fitted with Starstreak launchers.
It plans to bolster Ukraine’s existing Soviet-era artillery with more than 20 M109 155mm self-propelled guns, 36 L119 105mm artillery guns, and in excess of 1,600 anti-tank weapons and hundreds of loitering aerial munitions in the coming weeks, the MoD added.
The Defence Secretary said in a statement: ‘The scale and range of equipment we are providing demonstrates the strength of our resolve. Together with our international partners, we will ensure Ukraine has the tools to defend their country from Putin’s illegal invasion.’
The war looks set to be taking a drastic new turn after Putin’s attack dog Sergei Lavrov confirmed that Moscow’s war aims now go beyond the Kremlin-backed Donbas region in the east and include Kherson and neighbouring Zaporizhzhia in the south.
The Ministry of Defence revealed it has sent Kyiv more than 6,900 anti-tank missiles, 16,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, 5,000 night-vision goggles, 120 Armoured Fighting Vehicles and six Stormer vehicles fitted with Starstreak launchers. It plans to bolster Ukraine’s existing Soviet-era artillery with more than 20 M109 155mm self-propelled guns, 36 L119 105mm artillery guns, and in excess of 1,600 anti-tank weapons and hundreds of loitering aerial munitions in the coming weeks
Firefighters extinguish fire of a damaged school building following shelling in the town of Kramatorsk today
Boris Johnson’s Government has flooded Ukraine with arms since Putin invaded the country in February
REVEALED: Britain’s military aid to Ukraine since Putin’s February 24 invasion in numbers
Since Putin’s February 24 invasion:
- More than 6,900 anti-tank missiles (including more than 5,000 NLAW, as well as Javelin, Brimstone, and other anti-tank weapons);
- Multiple Launch Rocket Systems;
- 120 Armoured Fighting Vehicles
- Six Stormer vehicles fitted with Starstreak launchers as well as hundreds of Starstreak missiles;
- Maritime Brimstone;
- More than 16,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, as well as anti-structure munitions and 4.5 tonnes of plastic explosive;
- Communications equipment;
- Electronic warfare equipment;
- More than 82,000 helmets, 8,450 sets of body armour, medical supplies and more than 5,000 night-vision devices.
Military aid to Ukraine in ‘coming weeks’:
- More than 20 M109 155mm self-propelled guns;
- Thirty-six L119 105mm artillery guns and ammunition;
- More than 50,000 rounds of ammunition for Ukraine’s soviet era artillery;
- At least 1,600 more anti-tank weapons;
- Unmanned aerial systems (including 100s loitering aerial munitions);
- Counter-battery radar systems;
- Medical equipment.
In the nearly five months since Putin’s men invaded Ukraine, 1,700 tanks have been destroyed by Ukrainian forces who have been able to inflict heavy losses on the Russian army thanks to advanced Western weaponry and tactics.
Ukrainian armed forces said today they had killed 111 Russian soldiers in the south and east over the past day, as comments from Russia’s foreign minister showed the Kremlin’s goals had grown during the five-month war.
Russia classifies military deaths as state secrets even in times of peace and has not updated its official casualty figures frequently during the war.
Russian troops shelled cities across eastern and southern Ukraine, Ukrainian officials said, and hit two schools as Putin’s forces carried out limited ground operations in preparation for a wider offensive.
The Ukrainian military reported heavy and sometimes fatal Russian shelling in the east and south of the country amid what its said were largely failed attempts by Russian ground forces to advance in the eastern Donetsk region.
Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russian missile strikes had destroyed two schools in the cities of Kramatorsk and Kostiantynivka and had also hit the city of Bakhmut but there was no information yet on casualties.
Russia says it does not deliberately target civilians and uses high precision weapons to degrade Ukrainian military targets, but the war has flattened cities, particularly in Russian-speaking areas in the east and southeast of Ukraine.
The mayor of Kharkiv, Igor Terekhov, in his Telegram channel said that one of the most densely populated areas of the city was being shelled and asked people not to leave shelters. Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, said two people had been killed and 19 wounded, four of them seriously.
Vitaly Kim, governor of the southern Mykolaiv region, said the region had been targeted with seven S-300 missiles. One person had been wounded, he said, and infrastructure, energy facilities and storage facilities damaged.
Multiple blasts were also heard in the Russian-controlled southern region of Kherson overnight and into Thursday, Russian news agency TASS reported.
CIA Director William Burns said on Wednesday that the United States estimated that Russian casualties in Ukraine had so far reached around 15,000 killed and perhaps 45,000 wounded and that Ukraine has suffered what he called significant losses too.
Scotching persistent speculation that Putin may be suffering from health problems, Burns also said that the Kremlin chief was healthy as far as he knew.
British military intelligence said on Thursday that Russian forces were likely closing in on Ukraine’s second biggest power plant at Vuhlehirska, 50 km (31 miles) north-east of Donetsk.
‘Russia is prioritising the capture of critical national infrastructure, such as power plants,’ the ministry, which supports Ukrainian forces, said in a regular bulletin.
Firefighters extinguish fire of a damaged school building following shelling in the town of Kramatorsk today
Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 after a military intervention by pro-Russian separatists and Russian Armed Forces. That was followed by a controversial Crimea-wide referendum, illegal under the Ukrainian and Crimean constitutions, whose official results showed over 90% support for reunification
It said taking the power plant, a Soviet-era coal-fired facility, was also probably part of Russia’s attempt to regain momentum as it tried to advance towards the key cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine.
It comes as Russian gas began flowing to Europe via a major pipeline after a pause – but the gas flow was expected to fall well short of full capacity and the outlook was uncertain.
The resumption of gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany ended a nerve-jangling 10 days for Europe in which politicians expressed concern Russia might not restart them at a time when alternative energy supplies are tight and prices high.
The pipeline has traditionally carried more than one third of Russia’s gas exports to Europe but was operating at only 40% of its capacity after Kremlin-controlled Gazprom cut gas exports in a row over the repair of a turbine.
European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has accused Russia of trying to blackmail Europe by using energy as a weapon, something Moscow, which is unable to swiftly redirect all of its gas to other markets, has denied. read more
Moscow has criticised EU and US sanctions on Russia over its February 24 invasion of Ukraine and military help to Kyiv, saying it had to undertake what it calls a ‘special military operation’ to prevent NATO using Ukraine to threaten Russia.