Zelenskyy 'grateful' as UK announces £500 million boost to Ukraine war efforts

Rishi Sunak an immediate boost to the Ukraine war effort with a record £500 million aid package during a trip to Warsaw and Berlin, ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a record package of aid for Ukraine, set to total £500 million, during a trip to Warsaw and Berlin.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy has said he is "grateful" for the aid package, "for such a strong demonstration of support and for the willingness to further develop our defence co-operation, especially with an emphasis on maritime and long-range capabilities.”

The supplies will include some 400 vehicles, 1,600 munitions and 4 million rounds of ammunition, and takes the UK's military aid contribution to Ukraine to £3 billion in 2024/25, and to £7.6 billion since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022.

Mr Sunak warned Russian President Vladimir Putin will not stop at Ukraine if he is not defeated in this conflict.

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

“I am in Warsaw today to deepen ties with our Polish partners and commit critical new military support for Ukraine’s defence. Ukraine’s armed forces continue to fight bravely, but they need our support – and they need it now."

Mr Sunak said he discussed air defence and long-range weapons with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on their call.

“He and I were talking about air defence this morning. We’ve consistently provided air defence support to Ukraine from the very beginning".

He said the two leaders also discussed “the importance of long-range”.

The Prime Minister added that the Ukrainian president was “in good spirits”, “very positive” about the renewed US support and “very grateful” for UK help.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said this record package of military aid will give President Zelenskyy and Ukrainians more of what they need "to kick Putin out and restore peace and stability in Europe".

Mr Sunak will meet his German and Polish counterparts, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Minister Donald Tusk, as well as Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during his trip.

Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey said the UK is "united in support of Ukraine and against Russian aggression".

"Labour strongly welcomes this further funding and military aid to Ukraine," he added.

“This UK military support is vital to helping Ukraine gain an upper hand against Putin’s brutal and illegal invasion.

The aid package is new money from the Treasury reserve and not from existing Ministry of Defence budgets, according to No 10.

What the UK will send to Ukraine:

  • 60 boats including offshore raiding craft, rigid raiding craft and dive boats as well as maritime guns;

  • More than 1,600 strike and air defence missiles, as well as additional Storm Shadow long-range precision-guided missiles;

  • More than 400 vehicles, including 160 protected mobility ‘Husky’ vehicles, 162 armoured vehicles and 78 all-terrain vehicles;

  • Nearly four million rounds of small arms ammunition.

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