UK Announces £500m Military Aid Package to Ukraine Amidst Rising Tensions

Ukraine Rishi Sunak

In a significant move, UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is set to announce a £500m military aid package to Ukraine. This comes as part of the UK’s ongoing support in Ukraine’s war against Russia and marks the UK’s largest provision of munitions so far.

The aid package includes 400 vehicles, 60 boats, 1,600 strike and air defence missiles, and four million rounds of ammunition. This announcement comes at a critical time for Ukraine, as Russian forces have been gaining the upper hand in recent weeks. Moscow’s forces took the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka on 17 February and have been progressing ever since, occupying other villages.

In a concerning development last month, Russia launched an airstrike into Ukraine’s western region of Lviv, near Poland’s border. This saw one cruise missile briefly fly into Polish airspace, according to Warsaw.

Rishi Sunak will travel to Poland on Tuesday to make the announcement, which takes the UK’s total military aid to Ukraine to £3bn this financial year. He stated, “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. Ukraine’s armed forces continue to fight bravely, but they need our support – and they need it now.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps reiterated the UK’s commitment, stating that the UK was “the first” to provide NLAW anti-tank missiles, modern tanks, and long-range missiles to Ukraine.

However, the crisis in the Middle East has also turned global attention away from the conflict in Ukraine, as Israel continues to bombard Gaza.

In a major win for Ukraine, a $60.8bn (£49bn) bill was passed by the US House of Representatives. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude, stating that American lawmakers moved to keep “history on the right track”.

During his visit, Sunak will also meet with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk before heading to Germany to meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The UK government has offered to deploy an RAF Typhoon Squadron to carry out NATO monitoring over Poland next year, aiming to strengthen the ties between the two countries.

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