The United Kingdom has announced a further $1.6 billion (£1.3 billion) in military aid and support for Ukraine as the country continues its stalwart defense against the Russian invasion. This follows the UK’s donation of Stormer High-Velocity Missile (HVM) launchers, Starstreak anti-aircraft rockets, and a number of armored vehicles to Ukraine.

“The situation in Ukraine continues to cause immense suffering with every day bringing new, tragic stories of Putin’s brutality,” British Chancellor Rishi Sunak said.

“We are unwavering in our support for the people of Ukraine – and this extra £1.3bn will ensure we continue to provide the necessary military and operational support they need to defend themselves against Putin.”

The additional funding was pooled from the British Treasury’s emergency reserves set aside for the direst crises and emergencies, according to Sunak.

“The UK is at the forefront of providing economic, humanitarian, and defensive support to Ukraine, and we are working tirelessly to bring an end to this conflict,” Sunak added.

The $1.6 billion package nearly doubles London’s previous financial commitments to Kyiv and will gradually be provided over a three-month period. This marks the highest rate of military expenditure for the UK since the peak of the conflict in Afghanistan in Iraq, where around 43,000 British troops were deployed.

Britain has been one of Ukraine’s most staunch supporters of the country along with the US in its defense against Vladimir Putin’s unjustified aggression. On the international stage, the country is at the forefront with the United States to push for hard-hitting sanctions against Moscow and sure constant growing support for Kyiv.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been one of the most outspoken leaders supporting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Last Tuesday, Johnson unveiled a $370 million military commitment to Ukraine, which included electronic combat weapons, GPS disrupting equipment, a counter-battery radar system, and thousands of night vision gear.

“Putin’s brutal attack is not only causing untold devastation in Ukraine – it is also threatening peace and security across Europe,” Johnson said.

“The UK was the first country to recognize the scale of the threat and send arms to help the Ukrainians defend themselves. We will stand by that endeavor, working with our allies to ensure Ukraine can continue to push back the Russian invasion and survive as a free and democratic country,” he added.

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“In the process, we are bolstering our own security and economy, turbocharging the development and production of cutting-edge defense equipment here in the UK.”

The announcement of the financial package came ahead of a virtual meeting between the leaders of the G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US, and President Zelensky.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a virtual meeting with G7 and other European leaders (Boris Johnson Twitter). Source:
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a virtual meeting with G7 and other European leaders (Boris Johnson Twitter)

In a statement on May 5, the British Government denounced Russia’s “illegal and unprovoked” invasion of Ukraine and its attempt to justify the violence happening on the ground.

“The Russian Federation has attempted, in vain, to legitimize its war. This includes in the southern city of Kherson, where Russia has sought to assert its control of the city and surrounding areas through installing a pro-Kremlin administration,” British Ambassador Neil Bush said.

In the speech, Bush reinstated that the success of Kyiv was also a win for London and the rest of Europe.

“We provide this support because Ukraine’s victory is a strategic imperative for all of us. Our collective security is under threat by Russia’s actions. And we will continue to support Ukraine until we have achieved our long-term goal: to ensure that no one will ever dare to attack it again.”

UK Sanctions Imports from Russia and Belarus

The British Department of International Trade slapped a fresh package of sanctions against Russian and Belarusian imports to the country. The tariffs, which affect around $2.10 billion (£1.7 billion) worth of goods, will apply to goods including platinum and palladium. Such minerals are crucial in making cellphone and computer chips.

The British government is also eyeing goods flowing from the UK into Russia and Belarus. Export bans will be set on select chemicals, rubber, plastics, and machinery. The new import tariff package will target around $1.73 billion (£1.4 billion), with export restrictions covering over $310 million (£250 million) flowing into Russian industries.

“We are determined to do our utmost to thwart Putin’s aims in Ukraine and undermine his illegal invasion, which has seen barbaric acts perpetrated against the Ukrainian people,” International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said.

“This far-reaching package of sanctions will inflict further damage on the Russian war machine,” she added.

It seems like Europe is finally stepping up amid reports that it was not doing enough to support Ukraine. SOFREP”s very own Editor-in-chief, Sean Spoonts, reported on April 25th that Ukraine had just received $1.1 billion from Europe before the UK’s recent military package. In comparison to the US, it has given Ukraine $3.7 billion, a far larger amount of support despite Europe being capable of delivering weapons and financial assistance to Ukraine.

“If we take that number and turn it into actual weapons, it doesn’t buy much at all. At a price tag of nearly $6 million a copy, $1.1 billion dollars would buy you about 183 German Leopard 2A tanks,” Spoonts said.

“It would buy less than 9 Eurofighter aircraft. It would buy more in terms of artillery and rockets, but not enough to take on a Russian army with some 12,000 tanks (fewer now) and nearly 1,200 fighter jets.”