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Sunak confirms $3.2 billion aid package for Ukraine, signs security deal with Zelensky

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky sign a security deal in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 12, 2024. (Volodymyr Zelensky/X)
by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 12, 2024 6:05 PM 5 min read
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U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the expected 2.5-billion-pound ($3.2 billion) military aid package during his visit to Kyiv on Jan. 12, according to a Kyiv Independent reporter.

The two leaders also signed a new deal on security cooperation, the first bilateral commitment finalized as part of the security assurances announced by the Group of Seven (G7) last July.

The newly announced aid package includes air defense equipment, anti-tank weapons, long-range missiles, and training for Ukrainian soldiers, Sunak said. The U.K. government announced earlier that the tranche also consists of the "largest ever commitment of drones."

Of the 2.5 billion pounds, at least 200 million will be spent to procure and produce thousands of military drones for Ukraine, including surveillance, long-range strikes, and sea drones, read the U.K. government's press release from earlier today.

The prime minister noted that this is the U.K.'s largest assistance package since the start of the full-scale war. Ukraine's head of state clarified that the $3.2 billion package is allocated for this year.

"(Vladimir) Putin hoped the West would be distracted by events in the Middle East, but today we've taken the critical step to increase our military support to Ukraine, to get them more of what they need to win," U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps commented.

The security deal signed by Sunak and Zelensky stipulates London's commitment to support Kyiv for a period of 10 years, according to Ukraine's head of state.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Kyiv on January 12, 2024. Sunak visited Kyiv to launch "a major new package of support" for Ukraine and increase military funding for this financial year to £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion), his office said. (Stefan Rousseau /POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

"This is not simply a declaration. This is a reality that will come to fruition as a result of our cooperation, including security commitments from a major global power, the United Kingdom," Zelensky said, according to his social media account.

"If the U.K. and other countries had provided such a level of guarantees after 1991, there would have been no Russian aggression at all. Our common goal is to ensure that an attack on Ukraine will never happen again once the current Russian aggression has been halted and Ukraine strengthened."

During the July 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius, the Group of Seven (G7) countries, including the U.K., committed to providing Kyiv with long-term security guarantees that would help the country defeat the Russian invasion and deter any future aggression.

The security deal, published on the presidential office's website, sets out a mode of cooperation in the military sphere, maritime security, defense industry, protection of critical infrastructure, and cybersecurity.

It also recognized Russia and its proxies as "dangerous organized crime" and affirmed a commitment to restoring the full territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The U.K. further pledged to provide financial, economic, and humanitarian aid and to assist Ukraine in reconstruction efforts and reforms needed for EU and NATO accession.

Finally, in case of any future aggression by Russia, the parties agreed to hold immediate consultations on measures to deter the aggression. London further pledged to supply military equipment and economic aid and impose new sanctions on Russia in such an eventuality.

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (R) speaks with Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Major General Gwyn Jenkins as they travel by train through Ukraine on January 12, 2024. Sunak visited Kyiv to launch "a major new package of support" for Ukraine and increase military funding for this financial year to £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion), his office said. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Sunak arrived in Kyiv earlier on Jan. 12 in a gesture of support for Ukraine as worries about hesitancy among other allies grow.

U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron said earlier this month that assistance for Ukraine within the country is bipartisan and not as controversial as in the U.S. and that London is ready to help for many years to come.

Prior to meeting Zelensky, Sunak visited Kyiv's streets, meeting the capital's residents and State Emergency Service workers and witnessing the aftermath of the Russian attacks.

"The Prime Minister saw first-hand today the devastation Russia continues to cause," Sunak's office said.

"But the Ukrainian spirit is one of bravery and defiance. It is a spirit that cannot be broken."

Ukraine war latest: Latvia announces new aid for Kyiv, including artillery, munitions, helicopters
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