UK to Provide $225M Drone Assistance to Ukraine: Sunak

This is the single largest package of drones given by any country to Ukraine
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  • 06:37 AM, January 14, 2024
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UK to Provide $225M Drone Assistance to Ukraine: Sunak
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Kyiv on January 12, 2024.

In a surprise visit to Kyiv on Friday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak revealed a comprehensive military aid package as part of a new multibillion-dollar aid initiative for Ukraine, covering a significant investment of $225 million in drone technology.

The aid, pledged for a decade, comes at a crucial time as Ukraine's allies in Brussels and Washington grapple with securing funding amid Russia's increasing military buildup.

President Volodymyr Zelensky applauded the "unprecedented" 10-year security cooperation agreement and the £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) military aid designated for 2024. The package addresses critical shortages, providing Ukraine with advanced drone technology, including surveillance and combat capabilities.

Zelensky, during a joint appearance with Sunak in Kyiv, expressed that the aid marks a significant moment in European history. The drone package includes the supply of thousands of drones and a £200 million ($255 million) investment in drone production, marking the most substantial contribution of its kind by any nation.

Sunak urged other Western nations to follow suit, emphasizing the strategic importance of drone technology in modern warfare. "Drones play a crucial role in surveillance, reconnaissance, and strategic operations. Our commitment to providing Ukraine with the latest drone capabilities aims to empower their defense forces and bolster their resilience against evolving threats," Sunak stated.

The UK's package also encompasses air defense systems, anti-tank capabilities, long-range missiles, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Additionally, London will provide training for "thousands more Ukrainian servicemen" to operate and integrate drone technology effectively.

The announcement addresses Ukraine's urgent need for air defense capabilities, with Sunak assuring that the drone package would redefine the alliance between the UK and Ukraine for the foreseeable future. Sunak also reiterated the UK's belief in Ukraine's NATO membership, emphasizing that the inclusion of Ukraine would strengthen the alliance.

Zelensky highlighted the importance of the 10-year security cooperation agreement, expressing confidence that such commitments could have deterred Russian aggression if established earlier. Sunak's visit coincided with reports of Russian shelling claiming two lives in the southern city of Kherson. The British leader commended Ukrainian "courage" and met with emergency service workers responding to the aftermath of Russian air strikes.

The drone-focused aid commitment solidifies the UK's support for Ukraine's war efforts, contributing to a total aid package of nearly £12 billion ($15 billion).

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