HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesUkraine air defences: UK's Rishi Sunak, Ukraine's Zelenskiy discuss air defences

Ukraine air defences: UK’s Rishi Sunak, Ukraine’s Zelenskiy discuss air defences

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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak discussed Ukraine’s need for more air defence systems on a call with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday, before arriving in Poland where he will announce a new uplift in
military support for Kyiv.
Sunak, speaking to reporters travelling with him, said he was slightly late for his flight because he had spoken to Zelenskiy about Ukraine’s need for air defences and Britain’s 500 million pound ($617 million) increase in military support.Britain has long been a vocal supporter of Ukraine, and the additional funding will take London’s total military aid for this financial year to 3 billion pounds, just days after the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $60 billion package.

“So I agree that air defence is one of the critical areas where Ukraine needs support. And indeed, actually I was on the phone with Zelenskiy this morning… from the car,” Sunak told reporters.

“And he and I were talking about air defences, one of the many things that we were talking about,” he said, adding he would talk about Ukraine’s air defences in meetings with NATO General-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk later on Tuesday.

He said he will also discuss the issue with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday, after being asked how he assessed Berlin’s bid to encourage more NATO countries and others to offer up air defence systems to Ukraine.

Sunak said he would say more later on Tuesday but repeated his argument that Britain had frequently been first to deliver weapons to Ukraine and that its latest package, which included 60 boats, more than 1,600 strike and air defence missiles and nearly 4 million rounds of small arms ammunition, was helping.

Zelenskiy welcomed the new package, saying said on X: “Storm Shadow and other missiles, hundreds of armoured vehicles and watercraft, ammunition β€” all of this is needed on the battlefield.”

Sunak’s visit to Poland and Germany is his first international trip for months and is aimed at showing his
restive party he is still in command before an election later this year he is widely expected to lose.

“Defending Ukraine against Russia’s brutal ambitions is vital for our security and for all of Europe. If Putin is
allowed to succeed in this war of aggression, he will not stop at the Polish border,” Sunak said before the trip.

“Ukraine’s armed forces continue to fight bravely, but they need our support – and they need it now. Today’s package will help ensure Ukraine has what they need to take the fight to Russia,” he said.

With Russia making some gains, Zelenskiy has urged countries to help Kyiv get the long-range arms and air defence systems he says are needed to turn the tide.

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