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Chancellor marks military support for Ukraine on visit to Kyiv

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt tells President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Britain will stand with Ukraine for “as long as it takes” on visit to Kyiv.

  • Mr Hunt discussed £500 million of new funding and munitions for the country in its fight against Putin’s Russia with the President and counterpart Sergii Marchenko.
  • Boosts Britain’s military aid for Ukraine to £3 billion this year and by at least as much each year going forward, alongside its commitment to spending 2.5% of GDP on defence spending by 2030.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv yesterday, 24 April, to reaffirm Britain’s support for Ukraine for as long as is required to its leaders.

The Chancellor met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Finance Minister Sergii Marchenko to offer his support and hear how Ukraine plans to utilise new equipment due from the UK. During their meeting, President Zelenskyy told Mr Hunt that the “crucial” support was “very important” to Ukraine.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the £500 million of new military aid for Ukraine this week, alongside the UK’s largest ever donation of critical munitions like missiles and air defences. It takes Britain’s military support for Ukraine to £3 billion this financial year, on top of the £4.6 billion already committed since Russia’s illegal invasion began. That level of support will be sustained for as long as is required.

Speaking from Kyiv, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said:

War in Ukraine has raged on for longer than many feared, but today I saw that the resolve of its people remains absolute. The onus is now on its friends to pile the pressure on Putin and help restore peace and prosperity in Europe – we’re determined to play our leading part. 

Ukraine’s security is our security, and the billions in funding and equipment Britain has provided to date is just the start of a longer-term commitment to supporting them in their struggle with Russia for as long as it takes.

During their meeting, President Zelenskyy of Ukraine told Mr Hunt:

I want to thank you, your team, government, Prime Minister, Parliament and people of the United Kingdom that you are with us – with Ukraine - from the first days of full-scale war. We count on you. We are real partners.

Whilst on the ground, the Chancellor visited Saint Michael’s Square with Minister Marchenko and laid flowers at the memorial to the soldiers killed in Russia’s war of aggression. He also visited St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery and lit a candle in their memory.

The UK has consistently been a first-mover in its support for Ukraine and the government has this week moved to shore up the support Ukraine needs for the long-haul, with a new assurance to maintain current levels of support for as long as is necessary. This represents the longest-term commitment of any other nation, coming on top of the 100-year alliance forged by the UK-Ukraine Security Pact.

That started with the £500 million of new military funding for Ukraine being unveiled by the Prime Minister on his visit to Warsaw on Tuesday, where he met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss support for the country. The funding will support the highest priority capabilities, including scaling of UK drone innovation and support so the UK becomes the largest provider of drones to Ukraine. 

With the economy turning the corner and inflation near its lowest level in two-and-a-half years, it was also announced that the government will steadily increase defence spending to £87 billion a year at the end of the decade, thereby hitting 2.5% of GDP by 2030. It secures Britain’s place as the largest defence power in Europe and second biggest contributor to NATO by some margin.

If all NATO partners matched that commitment to spend 2.5% of GDP on defence, our collective spending would increase by over £140 billion. Mr Hunt used his visit to Ukraine to urge allies to step up and match that benchmark.

Commitments made this week mean the UK’s total military, humanitarian and economic support for Ukraine now totals over £12 billion since the advent of war in February 2022.

Additional information

The record donation of military equipment to Ukraine being made by the Ministry of Defence includes:

  • 60 boats including offshore raiding craft, rigid raiding craft and dive boats as well as maritime guns.
  • More than 1,600 strike and air defence missiles, as well as additional Storm Shadow long-range precision-guided missiles.
  • More than 400 vehicles, including 160 protected mobility ‘Husky’ vehicles, 162 armoured vehicles and 78 all-terrain vehicles.
  • Nearly 4 million rounds of small arms ammunition.
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