The UK is to send 6,000 more missiles to Ukraine to bolster Kyiv’s fight against Russia’s invasion as Boris Johnson urged Western allies to help “keep the flame of freedom alive”.
The British prime minister will use as summit of Nato and G7 leaders to detail a new support package for the Ukrainian military, including thousands of missiles comprising anti-tank and high-explosive weaponry.
In addition, the UK is providing £25 million from the Foreign Office’s conflict security and stabilization fund to help pay the salaries of Ukrainian soldiers and pilots battling the Russians.
Ahead of his visit to Brussels on Thursday for talks, a month on from the Russian invasion, Johnson called on other Western leaders to step up the supply of military hardware to Kyiv as well as doubling down on sanctions against Russia.
“Vladimir Putin is already failing in Ukraine. The Ukrainian people have shown themselves to be extraordinarily brave and tenacious in defending their homeland, in the face of an unprovoked onslaught,” he said.
“But we cannot and will not stand by while Russia grinds Ukraine’s towns and cities into dust. The United Kingdom will work with our allies to step up military and economic support to Ukraine, strengthening their defenses as they turn the tide in this fight.
“One month into this crisis, the international community faces a choice. We can keep the flame of freedom alive in Ukraine, or risk it being snuffed out across Europe and the world.”
Britain has already sent more than 4,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, including next-generation light anti-tank weapons systems (Nlaws) and Javelin missiles.
The UK is also supplying and training Ukrainian troops in the use of Starstreak high-velocity anti-air missiles as well as providing body armour, helmets and combat boots.
In a further move, the government is to provide an additional £4.1 million to the BBC World Service to counter disinformation in Russia and Ukraine as well as new support for the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Justice secretary Dominic Raab will chair a meeting of justice and foreign ministers in The Hague to coordinate support for the ICC’s war crimes investigations.
He is expected to announce an additional £1 million in funding for the court, as well as new support from UK soldiers with expertise in intelligence gathering and Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Team.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s predecessor told ITV News on Tuesday: “Please, no comparison.”
“How many citizens of the United Kingdom died because of Brexit? Zero,” he said, pointing to “only today” 150 Ukrainian children were killed by the Russian military and that whole cities have been completely destroyed.
Johnson also faced a backlash on Wednesday for pulling faces in the Commons as chancellor Rishi Sunak described Ukrainians huddled in basements.
The latest UK military intelligence suggests Russia is failing to break the spirit of the Ukrainian population as its invasion continues to stall.
In an intelligence briefing on Tuesday night, the ministry of defense said attempts to use media manipulation, propaganda and install pro-Kremlin local leaders have been so far unsuccessful.