Movements come as Russia denies US claims seeking a pretext to invade Ukraine.
The UK began supplying Ukraine with tank weapons and Canada reportedly deployed a small contingent of special forces to Kiev amid concerns over a possible invasion by Russia.
The developments came when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov angrily rejected claims by the United States last week that Moscow was preparing a pretext to invade Ukraine if diplomacy could not achieve its goals.
While Moscow – which has deployed 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine – denies plans for an attack on Ukraine, he said it could take unspecified military action unless the West agrees to a list of demands, including banning Kiev to ever join NATO.
Russia regards NATO’s expansion to the east as an existential threat.
But Washington and its allies have certainly rejected Moscow’s demands and Russia-US negotiations in Geneva and a related NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels, which ended last week. without a breakthrough.
Kiev has since asked Western countries for weapons to help protect him.
Defense Minister Ben Wallace spoke in the British Parliament on Monday, saying the UK had “made the decision to provide Ukraine with light anti-weapons systems”.
The first weapon was delivered on Monday and a small number of British staff members will provide training for a short period, he said without specifying the number and type of weapons being sent.
But he added: “They are not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia. They should be used in self-defense.
“It is short distance…. but nevertheless it would make people stop and think what they were doing and if tanks would roll into Ukraine, invade it, then they would be part of the defense mechanism. “
In a separate article published on Monday, Wallace also addressed Russian claims of threats from NATO, saying the Western security alliance was “at its core, defensive”.
“Former Soviet states were not expanded ‘in’ by NATO, but joined at their own request,” he wrote. “The Kremlin seeks to present NATO as a Western conspiracy to enter its territory, but in reality, the growth in Alliance membership is the natural response of those states to their own malicious activities and threats.”
In Kiev, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov welcomed the UK’s support and said in a Twitter post that his country was “Britain’s decision to provide a new security package with light, anti-armor, defense weapon systems much appreciated! “
Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia could launch an offensive on its territory from several directions, including from the territory of its ally Belarus. Russian and Belarussian troops plan to hold large-scale military exercises next month, including near Belarus’s border with Ukraine.
Alexander Volfovich, secretary of the Belarussian Security Council, said on Monday that Russian troops had begun arriving in the country for training, according to the BELTA news agency.
Russia has denied plans to attack its neighbor, but has accused the Ukrainian leadership of plotting to use force to regain control of Russia’s backed rebel-held territories in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities denied the claim.
Separately in Canada, Global News has meanwhile reported that Ottawa has sent special forces operators to Ukraine.
Referring to unspecified sources, the TV broadcaster said the unit would identify ways to assist the Ukrainian government and help develop evacuation plans for Canadian diplomatic personnel in the event of a full-scale invasion.
A spokesman for the Canadian Special Operations Command said he could not confirm the report, but said it had been supporting the Ukrainian security forces on a periodic basis since the fall of 2020.
The report came when Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal in Kiev on Monday during a visit aimed at discussing attempts to deter “aggressive action” by Russia.