U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledges £500 million in military aid to Ukraine and announces defence budget increase

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U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

24th April 2024 – (Warsaw) During a diplomatic engagement in Warsaw on Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed an increase in Britain’s defence budget and announced an additional £500 million in military aid to Ukraine. The announcement came as Sunak held strategic discussions with Polish Premier Donald Tusk and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Prime Minister Sunak articulated a robust stance on national security amidst growing global instability, citing the current geopolitical climate as “the most dangerous since the Cold War.” He outlined plans to incrementally raise the UK’s defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030, up from the current 2.3%. This adjustment positions the U.K. as one of the leading defence spenders within the 32-member NATO alliance, trailing only the United States.

The British leader highlighted the challenges posed by what he termed “an axis of authoritarian states,” including Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China. He stressed that the bolstered funding represents “the biggest strengthening of national defence for a generation,” ensuring that the U.K. remains well-equipped to safeguard its interests and uphold its values on the global stage.

From a financial perspective, this strategic increase will propel the U.K.’s defence budget to an estimated £87 billion by the fiscal year 2030-2031, marking a £23 billion rise over current expenditure levels.

Additionally, Sunak’s visit highlighted the UK’s ongoing commitment to supporting Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia. The newly pledged £500 million will enhance Ukraine’s military capabilities, including the provisioning of over 1,600 various missiles, more than 400 armoured vehicles, and nearly four million rounds of small arms ammunition. This package is described by Sunak as the U.K.’s “largest-ever single package of equipment” for Ukraine, reflecting a significant intensification of support in response to the escalating military needs of Kyiv.