London: British Prime Minister Liz Truss has pledged that her government would match or exceed the amount of money spent on military aid for the Ukraine next year compared with 2022 and is expected to tell the United Nations General Assembly.
Truss, making her first overseas trip since becoming the British prime minister September 6, will focus on support for Ukraine and energy security during the meeting in New York, according to a summary of her remarks published by her office.
Britain has been second only to the United States in its spending on military equipment to support Ukrainian efforts to repel Russia’s unprovoked invasion that started in February. So far this year the British have committed £2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) of military aid to the Ukrainians.
Large numbers of missiles and rockets, five air-defence systems, 120 armoured vehicles, drones, GPS jamming equipment, artillery rounds, loitering munitions and over 200,000 pieces of non-lethal military equipment are among the weapon systems being provided to the Ukrainians by Britain.
Last week saw the largest commercial road movement of ammunition since the World War II as tens of thousands more rounds of UK-donated artillery ammunition were transported to the front lines in Ukraine. Thousands of Ukrainian recruits have also been trained in Britain over the last few months. No details on the types of equipment to be supplied next year have been made available.
However, it is expected to include equipment like the MLRS multiple launch rocket system, already provided to Ukraine by the UK, and others, which has been decisive in allowing Ukraine to re-gain over 3,000 square kilometres of territory in recent days.
Speaking ahead of departing for New York, Truss said: “My message to the people of Ukraine is this: the UK will continue to be right behind you every step of the way. Your security is our security.”
Meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly meeting are planned with US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and others.
Truss is expected to return to the UK, in time for a mini budget announcement by the new chancellor on Friday which is expected to look at tackling some of Britain’s severe economic woes, rather than focus on any decisions about possible higher defence spending at this point.