UK announces largest military aid package for Ukraine to date

Ukraine continues to see international support following the invasion as the United Kingdom follows suit with a pledge of its single-largest military aid package. “Defending Ukraine against Russia’s brutal ambitions is vital for our security and for all of Europe,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said during a visit to Poland this week. “If Putin is allowed to succeed in this war of aggression, he will not stop at the Polish border.” Sunak’s pledge of £500 million ($620 million) to Ukraine bolsters an already substantial £2.5 billion ($3.1 billion) allocated for this financial year. The funds will mainly go toward producing drones made in the U.K. and scaling up “domestic defense supply chains.” The British Ministry of Defense described the package as the “largest-ever single package of equipment from the U.K.” that puts the country on “a war footing.” Sunak has promised to spend an extra £75 billion ($93 billion) in defense spending over the next six years. The U.K. will also provide 400 vehicles, more than 1,600 missiles, 4 million rounds of ammunition and 60 boats to bolster the country’s defense. The U.K. will also deploy a Royal Air Force squadron to watch over Poland’s skies for NATO next year. “Ukraine’s armed forces are defending their country heroically, but they need our support — and they need it now,” Sunak said during a press conference. “[This] package will help ensure Ukraine has what they need to take the fight to Russia.””The United Kingdom will always play its part at the forefront of European security, defending our national interest and standing by our NATO allies,” Sunak added. Following his meeting with Polish President Donald Tusk, Sunak traveled to Berlin, where he met on Wednesday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The U.S. Senate on Tuesday advanced a $95 billion foreign aid package that included aid for Ukraine. The House passed the bill on Saturday, and both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ark., urged passage of the bill. Ukraine will receive $60 billion from that package, providing the beleaguered nation a much-needed shot in the arm to boost its defense against Russian invasion. President Biden on Wednesday said the package provides “vital support to America’s partner” and served as “an investment in all our security.””When our allies are stronger, we are all stronger,” Biden said during a press conference ahead of signing the bill. He stressed that “we need to move fast” to help Ukraine continue its defense against Russia’s invasion, which has lurched into its third year. “It’s amazing what they do against a larger military,” Biden added, touting the territorial gains and naval victories Ukraine has made over the past two years. He laid out the support Russia has received from Iran and China in contrast to the aid the U.S. and other allies will send to Kyiv.