Rishi Sunak to increase UK military aid to Ukraine to £3bn this year

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Rishi Sunak will unveil an extra £500mn of military funding to Ukraine on Tuesday and announce the largest supply of munitions to Kyiv as the UK prime minister travels to Poland and Germany to reinforce ties with key European allies.

“Defending Ukraine against Russia’s brutal ambitions is vital for our security and for all of Europe. If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is allowed to succeed in this war of aggression, he will not stop at the Polish border,” Sunak will say.

The prime minister’s announcement will bring the total amount of military aid Britain has pledged to Ukraine in the current financial year to £3bn as part of a push by Kyiv’s key western allies to bolster Ukrainian defences against invading Russian forces.

The latest contribution means the total commitment of military assistance for 2024-25 exceeds the £2.3bn sent by the UK to Ukraine in each of the two previous years, according to Downing Street officials.

The extra funding comes as the officials said the UK will rapidly deliver the biggest package of munitions to Ukraine since the full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022.

This will include a mix of 1,600 strike and air defence missiles, 4mn rounds of ammunition and an unspecified number of Storm Shadow cruise missiles, one of the most powerful weapons in Kyiv’s arsenal.

The package will also include 400 all-terrain and armoured vehicles, 60 fast raiding craft and engineering support as well as an undisclosed number of battlefield drones.

The uplift in British aid brings it broadly in line with France, which has pledged €3bn in military aid this year. Germany remains Ukraine’s biggest European backer with a promise of €7bn in military support.

The move after the US House of Representatives on Saturday night passed a $60bn military aid package to Ukraine after months of delay, which had left Kyiv short of crucial weaponry against an increasingly confident Russian military.

The US military aid package is awaiting approval by the Senate later this week, which should mean American weapons and munitions could start flowing into Ukraine within the coming days.

Sunak will fly to Warsaw to meet his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk, as well as Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of Nato, to discuss European security and support to Ukraine. The prime minister will then fly to Berlin for his first bilateral visit with Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor.

“I am in Warsaw today to deepen ties with our Polish partners and commit critical new military support for Ukraine’s defence,” Sunak will say.

“Ukraine’s armed forces continue to fight bravely, but they need our support — and they need it now. Today’s package will help ensure Ukraine has what they need to take the fight to Russia.”

The UK has 400 troops stationed permanently in Poland and has recently sent thousands more there temporarily as part of Britain’s contribution to “Steadfast Defender”, Nato’s largest military exercise since the end of the cold war.

In his first in-person meeting with Tusk, Sunak will also discuss the deployment of a squadron of Typhoon fighter-bombers to Poland next year as part of the UK’s commitment to the Nato mission to secure the alliance’s airspace.

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