Ukraine UK announce security deal during Prime Minister Sunak39s Kiev

Ukraine, UK announce security deal during Prime Minister Sunak's Kiev visit – Al Jazeera English

The British prime minister also confirmed 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) in new aid to Ukraine for the next fiscal year.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak signed a new security agreement with Ukraine's president during a visit to Kiev and announced an increase in military funding for the war-torn country.

Britain, one of Ukraine's closest allies during the Russian invasion, will increase its support to 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) in the next fiscal year, an increase of 200 million pounds ($255 million). compared to the previous two years, Sunak said on Friday.

The assets would include long-range missiles, air defense, artillery ammunition and maritime security.

“Our adversaries around the world believe we have neither the patience nor the resources for long wars, so now we are wavering, and we are not just encouraging.” [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, but his allies in North Korea, Iran and elsewhere,” Sunak said at a news conference.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine and Britain also signed an “unprecedented security agreement” on Friday that will remain in force until Ukraine joins the NATO military alliance.

“This is not simply an explanation. This is a reality that will become a reality through our cooperation, including the security commitments of a major world power, the United Kingdom. If the UK and other countries had provided such a level of guarantees after 1991, there would have been no Russian aggression at all,” Zelensky wrote on the social media platform X.

He added that the common goal was to ensure that after the war “an attack on Ukraine will never happen again.”

“Stand with Ukraine”

During the press conference, Sunak urged his Western allies to maintain their support for Ukraine and warned that a Russian victory would embolden other authoritarian countries.

“If Putin wins in Ukraine, he won’t stop there,” Sunak said.

Zelensky also told reporters that Ukraine is now more positive than it was in December about securing aid from the United States.

Britain is the second-largest donor of military aid to Ukraine after the United States, providing a total of 4.6 billion pounds ($3.3 billion) in 2022 and 2023.

“I am here today with a message: Britain will not falter either,” said Sunak.

“We will stand with Ukraine in its darkest hours and in the better times to come,” he added in his first remarks after arriving in the capital.

Sunak first visited Ukraine in November 2022, shortly after becoming prime minister. Britain has been one of Ukraine's most vocal supporters.

Ahead of his visit, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that any attempt by Britain to send troops to Ukraine would be a “declaration of war on our country”.

Both Ukraine and Russia are scrambling to replenish their weapons after 22 months of fighting and the possibility of a protracted conflict. The roughly 1,500-kilometer (930-mile) front line has been largely silent over the winter and both warring sides need artillery shells, missiles and drones that enable long-range attacks.

Kiev said Moscow was receiving artillery shells and missiles from North Korea and drones from Iran. On January 4, the White House quoted US intelligence officials as saying that Russia had acquired ballistic missiles from North Korea and needed them from Iran.

Kyiv asks for more military aid

Zelensky is urging his country's Western allies to provide Ukraine with even more support on top of the billions of dollars in military aid it has already received.

This week he visited the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia to rally support against Russia and seek new commitments. The Eastern European countries, which are also among Kiev's strongest supporters, promised more rockets, drones, howitzers and artillery shells.

Zelensky warned that Ukraine particularly needs air defense systems to repel recent Russian airstrikes. According to officials in Kiev, more than 500 drones and missiles were fired at Ukraine between December 29 and January 2.

Sunak said the UK recognized that Ukrainian security was “our security”.

“Today we are going one step further – increasing our military assistance, delivering thousands of state-of-the-art drones and signing a historic new security agreement to give Ukraine the long-term assurances it needs,” he said.

Elsewhere, however, support for Ukraine's war effort has stagnated.

A plan by US President Joe Biden's administration to send $60 billion in new funds to Kiev is being held up in Congress.

Europe's promise in March to deliver a million artillery shells within 12 months has also not been fulfilled, with only about 300,000 delivered by the end of last year.