UK promises extra £1 billion of military aid for Ukraine’s fight against Russia
The UK will provide an extra £1 billion of military aid for Ukraine, dramatically increasing its support for Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s defence of his country. The announcement brings the total UK military support since the outbreak of war to £2.3 billion, with Boris Johnson claiming British support was “transforming Ukraine’s defences” against the Russian onslaught. The promise of extra military support comes after Ukraine’s president urged Nato leaders to do more to help his country resist Vladimir Putin’s invasion. At the Nato summit in Madrid, which ends on Thursday, the UK promised funding towards capabilities including sophisticated air defence systems, drones and electronic warfare equipment. British officials said the equipment represents the first step in enabling Ukraine to go beyond defence and carry out offensive operations against Russian ground forces in order to recover lost territory.
They also alleged that, during the war, the UK has given more money to Ukraine than any other country in the world.
Mr Johnson said: “Putin’s brutality continues to take Ukrainian lives and threaten peace and security across Europe. “As Putin fails to make the gains he had anticipated and hoped for and the futility of this war becomes clear to all, his attacks against the Ukrainian people are increasingly barbaric. “UK weapons, equipment and training are transforming Ukraine’s defences against this onslaught. “And we will continue to stand squarely behind the Ukrainian people to ensure Putin fails in Ukraine.”
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who is also at the Nato summit, told Sky News Britain must prioritise stopping the "appalling dictator" that is Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Over their three days of talks in Spain, NATO leaders formally invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, after overcoming opposition from Turkey. If the Nordic nations’ accession is approved by the 30 member nations, it will give NATO a new 800-mile border with Russia.
Russian president Vladimir Putin warned he would respond in kind if the Nordic pair allowed NATO troops and military infrastructure onto their territory. He said Russia would have to “create the same threats for the territory from which threats against us are created”.
Meanwhile, China accused the alliance of “maliciously attacking and smearing” the country. During the summit, secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg had singled out Beijing as posing a "serious challenge" to global stability.
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The UK is counting its support for Ukraine within its defence spending, taking its commitment to around 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of the size of the economy. The level of spending on defence had been the source of a row between No 10 and the military, after Boris Johnson initially pledged to commit 2.5% of GDP.
After public lobbying from Cabinet ministers Ben Wallace and Liz Truss, Johnson increased the percentage on Thursday.