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Guardian: Half of British military defense fund for Ukraine remains unused

by Rachel Amran April 20, 2024 1:50 AM 2 min read
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) meets with U.K. Defense Minister Grant Shapps on Sept. 28, 2023 in Kyiv. (President Volodymyr Zelensky/Facebook)
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More than half of the U.K.'s 900 million pound (over $1 billion) military fund for Ukraine remains unused due to bureaucratic delays in handing out contracts, the Guardian reports.

The British Ministry of Defense manages a coalition of about nine countries called the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU). The IFU is a funding mechanism that was created in August 2022 and uses financial contributions from nine other countries to procure military equipment for Ukraine. Some of the other countries in the initiative include Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, and Lithuania.

The IFU has been criticized for its slow provision of weapons to the frontlines. Of the more than $1 billion that's been donated by Western countries over the last two years, of which $600 million came from the U.K., only about $500 million has been committed or spent.

Some British officials even admitted that some of the materials that were purchased would not reach Ukraine until Spring 2025.

Delays have reportedly been caused by a need to assess each of the massive numbers of defense companies that have received contracts. A spokesperson from the Ministry reportedly told the Guardian that "thousands of responses have been received from industry to IFU requirements, each of which has had to be individually reviewed."

Defense Secretary Grant Shapps is actively trying to recruit new countries to join the fund but the initiative's negative record for distributing cash appears to be deterring potential donors.

Delays in Western aid have become a major issue for Ukraine's military, especially as critical ammunition shortages continue to undermine advances on the battlefield.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also called on international partners to expand provisions of air defense systems amidst increased Russian aerial attacks over the last few months.  

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11:25 PM

Every Western decision is late by a year, says Zelensky.

Western partners have been deliberating key decisions on military assistance for Ukraine for "too long," President Volodymyr Zelensky said on May 20 in an interview with Reuters. The president described the delivery of aid, particularly badly needed air defense, as "one big step forward, but before that, two steps back."
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