Rishi Sunak says the UK will continue to stand with Ukraine as he announces $60m in defense aid in his first visit to Kyiv since becoming Prime Minister.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a new $60m aviation security package as he meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his first visit to Kyiv since becoming Prime Minister.
“I am here today to say that the UK will continue to be with you … until Ukraine wins the peace and security it needs and deserves,” Sunak said at a press conference with Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
The British Prime Minister said the defense package includes “120 anti-aircraft guns, radar systems and anti-drone weapons”. It comes as Russia shuts down almost half of the country’s electricity, forcing blackouts across the country amid a winter that has plunged to zero degrees.
Thank you, @RishiSunak. With friends like you by our side, we are confident in our success. All our countries know what it means to stand up for freedom 🇺🇦🇬🇧 https://t.co/9oFfswxp3K
– Volodymyr Zelensky (@ZelenskyyUa) November 19, 2022
Russia has stepped up its fight against Ukraine’s powerful weapons system with a series of airstrikes since last month, including the use of what Kyiv says are Iranian-made drones, which Ukraine has sought air defense from the West.
“It is very humbling to be with you in your country today. The courage of the Ukrainian people is an inspiration to the world,” said Sunak.
“In years to come we will tell our grandchildren about your story, how a proud and independent people stood up in the face of a terrible attack, how you fought, how you sacrificed, how you won,” added Sunak.
Zelenskyy praised “a fruitful and useful visit to both our countries” at the press conference.
He said they discussed “opportunities to protect the energy security of Europe and Ukraine” and “our ability to protect the skies of Ukraine, as well as overall security cooperation”.
On Twitter, Zelenskyy said “with friends like you by our side, we are confident in our victory”.
In the war, Ukraine has made significant gains since late September, retaking large swathes of territory in the east and south of the country. Last week, the Ukrainian army recaptured the city of Kherson after almost eight months of operation.
Recent military setbacks have forced Moscow to call for additional civilian and firefighter reinforcements. It ramped up its missile and drone attacks due to the failure of the battlefield.
Sunak, a former finance minister, took over last month following the leadership of Liz Truss.
He and his predecessor Boris Johnson both made helping Ukraine a key part of their efforts, a promise Sunak kept.