Rishi Sunak in Kyiv: UK announces $60 mn ‘Air Defence Package’ to Ukraine


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, during his first visit to Kyiv, has announced an air defence package worth £50 million ($60 million) for war-hit Ukraine. The air defence package includes 125 anti-aircraft guns and technology which will protect Ukraine against Russian strikes and help to counter “Iranian-supplied drones”, according to the news agency ANI. 

In an official statement by UK PMO, Sunak said, “Meeting President Zelenskyy, he confirmed that the UK will provide a major new package of air defence to help protect Ukrainian civilians and critical national infrastructure from an intense barrage of Russian strikes.”

“The £50 million packages of defence aid comprises 125 anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter deadly Iranian-supplied drones, including dozens of radars and anti-drone electronic warfare capability.” In the statement, PM’s office noted that the announcement follows more than 1,000 new anti-air missiles announced by the UK’s Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, earlier this month,” it added.

As Russia bombards Ukraine’s energy infrastructure nine months after invading its neighbour and starting one of Europe’s bloodiest wars since World War II, Ukraine had asked for more air defence systems.

“In years to come we’ll tell our grandchildren of your story, how proud and sovereign people stood up in the face of an appalling onslaught, how you fought, how you sacrificed, how you prevailed,” said Sunak.

In response, Zelensky praised a “meaningful and useful visit for both our countries,” after discussing with Sunak “the possibilities of protecting European and Ukrainian energy security” and “our capabilities in protecting the Ukrainian sky, as well as defence cooperation in general”.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office reported on Saturday that since the start of the war, 437 children had died — the majority of them in the eastern Donetsk region — and another 837 had been injured “as a result of Russia’s full-scale armed aggression.”

Officials said the figures were provisional as they verify the situation where fighting is ongoing.

 

(With ANI inputs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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