Britain will provide an extra 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in military support to Ukraine to help the country defend against Russian forces, officials said Sunday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders from other Group of Seven countries are expected to hold online talks with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later Sunday to discuss the additional support.
The meeting is partly meant to display unity among Western allies on Victory in Europe Day, which marks Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945.
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The funding, which comes from British government reserves, includes 300 million pounds in military gear promised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week, such as radar systems to target Russian artillery, GPS jamming equipment and night vision devices.
Britain’s government said it is the highest rate of U.K. military spending on a conflict since Iraq and Afghanistan.
Officials said Johnson will meet with British arms companies later this month to discuss increasing production in response to the demand created by the conflict in Ukraine.
In this image provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson talk during their walk in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, April 9, 2022.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
Johnson said Britain’s aid to Ukraine will also help boost the U.K. defense economy.
Britain has already committed about 1.5 billion pounds for Ukraine, including humanitarian aid and loan guarantees.
Also Sunday, German Bundestag President Bärbel Bas arrived in Kyiv, where she was expected to meet with Zelenskyy and attend a memorial event honoring the anniversary of the end of World War II.
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Bas, as the second highest-ranking German government official after the president, is the most senior German politician to visit Ukraine so far. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is also expected to visit in the coming days, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomes Germany’s Bundestag President Baerbel Bas in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 8, 2022, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS )
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal posted a photo of himself shaking hands with Bas on Twitter. He wrote that Ukraine is counting on Germany’s support to help Ukraine and join the European Union.
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Croatia’s prime minister was also in Ukraine Sunday following reports that a Croatian citizen fighting in Mariupol was captured by Russian forces.
The Croatian government said in a statement that the visit by Andrej Plenkovic presented “an expression of solidarity and support” with the Ukrainian leadership and the people.