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UK pledges £245 million to boost Ukraine artillery reserves

Defence minister Grant Shapps said Britain would 'do what it takes' to help Ukraine win the war
Defence minister Grant Shapps said Britain would 'do what it takes' to help Ukraine win the war - Copyright AFP MOHAMMED ABED
Defence minister Grant Shapps said Britain would 'do what it takes' to help Ukraine win the war - Copyright AFP MOHAMMED ABED

Britain announced on Saturday a new £245 million ($311 million) defence package to help boost the production of “urgently needed artillery ammunition” for Ukraine, two years after war broke out with Russia.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said Ukraine’s armed forces “against all odds” had recaptured large parts of the land seized by Russia in its 2022 invasion.

“But they cannot win this fight without the support of the international community -– and that’s why we continue to do what it takes to ensure Ukraine can continue to fight towards victory,” he added.

The new funding will be used to “procure and invigorate supply chains to produce urgently needed artillery ammunition to boost Ukraine’s reserves,” said the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Ukraine has been “particularly noted for its highly effective use of its artillery”, which has “proved critical to Ukraine’s battlefield successes, continuously degrading Russia’s forces and preventing them from making significant breakthroughs,” the MoD added.

In an update to parliament on Thursday, Shapps confirmed the delivery of an additional 200 Brimstone anti-tank missiles, bringing the total number to more than 1,300.

He also announced the United Kingdom will co-lead an international coalition that will supply thousands of drones to Ukraine.

While the total of Ukraine’s military losses remains undisclosed by Kyiv, US officials reportedly estimate that about 70,000 soldiers have been killed and 120,000 others injured.

Losses are also heavy on the Russian side, but Moscow appears to be able to fill its ranks through coercion and financial incentives — on top of having a bigger population.

Saturday is the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbour.

The UK used the occasion to announce it has also pledged £8.5 million in humanitarian funding allocations to the Red Cross Movement and the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. 

The money will bolster Britain’s ongoing support for their work with local partners, providing emergency responses and “vital humanitarian assistance across Ukraine,” according to the Foreign Office.  

Around £6 million will support the Red Cross Movement’s “neutral and impartial work” there, while £2.5 million will fund the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, part of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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