Efrem Lukatsky Associated Press Rishi Sunak, who wanted to send a “message” with this surprise visit to kyiv, pleaded for continued Western aid, essential for Ukraine.
Victoria Lukovenko – Agence France-Presse to kyiv
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, traveling to Kiev, announced on Friday the signing of a ten-year security agreement between his country and Ukraine, hailed as “unprecedented » by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Rishi Sunak, who wanted to send a “message” with this surprise visit, pleaded for continued Western aid, essential for kyiv.
Any weakening of this support would “encourage” not only Russian President Vladimir Putin but also “his allies in North Korea, Iran and elsewhere,” he assured.
“If Putin wins in Ukraine, he won’t stop there,” the prime minister said, promising that the country was “not alone” and “never would be.”
kyiv is concerned that its European and American allies are hesitant, due to internal political dissensions, to grant it more aid to fight the Russian invasion.
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The new head of French diplomacy, Stéphane Séjourné, is “on his way to Kiev” where he is due to meet Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday to demonstrate French support for Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been trying in recent weeks to remobilize his allies, has praised the “unprecedented security agreement” concluded with the United Kingdom for ten years.
“This is not a simple statement. This is a reality that will come to fruition thanks to our cooperation,” he promised.
This text follows promises of bilateral agreements by G7 countries at the NATO summit in Vilnius last year.
The United Kingdom, Ukraine's early supporter in the face of the Russian invasion, is the first country to achieve a final agreement, according to Downing Street.
Thousands of drones
Rishi Sunak also announced an increase in military aid and the delivery of thousands of drones.
“We are one of the most important supporters of Ukraine, especially when it comes to military aid,” he said.
UK military aid for the year 2024/2025 will amount to £2.5 billion, an increase of £200 million on the previous two years.
It will bring the total amount of British aid to Ukraine to almost £12 billion (€14 billion).
This support is a measure of “the seriousness of the situation here” and “our determination” to support Ukraine, added Rishi Sunak, stressing that this year it is , his first foreign visit and the first by a foreign leader to Ukraine.
“Putin may think he can last longer than us, but he is wrong,” he promised.
His visit comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Thursday that any “pause” in Ukraine's defense would only help Moscow rearm and allow it to “crush” the 'Ukraine.
The British envelope must be used to provide long-range missiles, air defense, artillery munitions and maritime security instruments.
At least £200 million is part of a drive to “rapidly supply and produce thousands of military drones”, including “surveillance, long-range strike and maritime drones”, according to Downing Street.
This will be, according to London, “the largest delivery of drones to Ukraine of any country”. Most of these aircraft will be produced in the United Kingdom.