Who is the New UK Defense Secretary, John Healey, Who Will Be Tasked with Support for Ukraine?

Who is the New UK Defense Secretary, John Healey, Who Will Be Tasked with Support for Ukraine?
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As Keir Starmer announces his new UK Government Cabinet, we look at the key figure who will be responsible for Ukraine—John Healey.

John Healey is a man who believes defense has as much to do with what is on the inside as it does on the outside. When it comes to the UK’s defense, it “starts in Ukraine”, the MP told the House of Commons. 

While countries around the world focus on China and the Indo-Pacific, the new Defense Secretary believes the United Kingdom’s deepest obligations lie in Europe. In his new role, he intends to see the UK play a larger role in NATO and Ukraine. 

He is a long-serving politician and has been a Member of Parliament for 27 years. He has experience working under Conservative and Labour majorities and has worked in key roles under Prime Ministers and Party Leaders—from Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn. 

When it comes to Ukraine, he is well informed and leads with empathy and understanding that it is the Ukrainian people and their resolve that is the reason Ukraine has been able to contend so strongly against its powerful neighbor, “Ukraine has resisted Russia because of the strength of its civilian and military resistance… A country is only as strong as the resilience of its people and the strength of its industry, and that is just a blunt lesson from Ukraine we have to learn.”

In May, Healey and the new Foreign Secretary, David Lammy, visited Kyiv and met with Ukraine’s Defense Minister and President Zelensky’s Chief of Staff. Upon return, Healy and Lammy addressed the House of Commons, outlining what they hope will become the future Labour Policy on Ukraine.

Healey provided three immediate steps to be taken by the new government:

Labour’s three immediate steps for Ukraine: 

  1. Speed up the delivery of air defense, ammunition, and long-range missiles and expand the training of Ukrainian troops. 

  1. Renew focus on diplomacy to strengthen international support for Ukraine.

  1. Seize Russian state assets and close sanction loopholes. 

Healy also echoed the remarks of his fellow MPs, during the House of Commons debate as a possible foreshadowing of new Labour policy. 

Summary of Healy’s remarks on Ukraine to the House of Commons: 

  1. Convey a sense of importance and urgency to the British public to reinforce their continuing support of Ukraine.

  1. Renew focus on diplomatic ties and bring together a “coalition of the willing” to combat the increasing cooperation between China and Russia. 

  1. Enact tougher sanctions on Russia and Russian oligarchs and to take more action in directing frozen Russian-state assets towards reconstruction in Ukraine. 

  1. Continue backing Ukraine to victory by providing them with the resources they need by ramping up the production of ammunition and weaponry in the UK to counter Russian production. 

  1. Focus on building a long-term partnership with Ukraine that is valuable to the United Kingdom and wider European security and prosperity. 

If one thing can be understood about Healey, it’s that he has no intention of abandoning Ukraine. “There will be no change in Britain’s resolve to stand with Ukraine, confront Russian aggression and pursue Putin for his war crimes,” he assured the Ukrainian Defence Minister, President Zelensky’s Chief of Staff and Ukrainian MPs. Under Healey, Labour plans to continue to support Ukraine this year and the years ahead.

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