Free world united with Ukraine, says Sunak

The latest funding of £8.5 million is part of £357 million of humanitarian assistance the UK has committed since the start of the conflict in February 2022…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak marked the second anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Saturday with a pledge to renew the UK’s determination to support the Ukrainians and declared the free world united in its response to President Vladimir Putin’s “illegal invasion” of Ukraine.

The leader reflected upon his recent visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv when he announced a major package of defence aid to Ukraine, taking the UK’s total support to £12 billion. It comes as the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) pledged £8.5 million in humanitarian funding allocations to the Red Cross Movement and the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund.

“When Putin launched his illegal invasion two years ago, the free world was united in its response. We stood together behind Ukraine. And on this grim anniversary, we must renew our determination,” said Sunak in a statement from 10 Downing Street.

“I was in Kyiv just a few weeks ago and I met wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Each harrowing story was a reminder of Ukraine’s courage in the face of terrible suffering. It was a reminder of the price they are paying not only to defend their country against a completely unjustified invasion, but also to defend the very principles of freedom, sovereignty and the rule of law, on which we all depend,” he said.

He added: “The UK is going further in our support. I announced last month the biggest single package of defence aid to Ukraine, taking our total support to £12 billion and signed a ten-year agreement on security cooperation – the first of its kind. This is the moment to show that tyranny will never triumph and to say once again that we will stand with Ukraine today and tomorrow. We are prepared to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, until they prevail.” According to the FCDO, over 14.6 million people – about 40 per cent of the Ukrainian population – is in need of humanitarian assistance. Millions have been left homeless, struggle without adequate access to water, food and electricity, and desperately need health, protection and other essential services and supplies in “territories under Russian occupation”.

“Ukrainians are bravely defending their land against Russia’s brutal invasion, but the past two years of war have had a tragic impact on millions of people across Ukraine. Families have been separated, towns and villages decimated, and vital civilian infrastructure destroyed. The UK stands with Ukraine, and is committed to supporting the most vulnerable Ukrainians living through the horrors of this war,” said UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

The announcement follows Cameron’s visit to the United Nations on Friday, where he addressed the United Nations Security Council and United Nations General Assembly and reinforced the UK’s commitment to supporting Ukraine.

Over £6 million of the UK funding will support the Red Cross Movement’s neutral and impartial work, reinforcing their existing emergency response projects and their support to the most vulnerable in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, £2.5 million will fund the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, part of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The UK said its funding supports ongoing emergency responses, preparedness activities and last-mile aid delivery in frontline areas where local communities have been most affected by recent attacks.

The latest funding is part of £357 million of humanitarian assistance the UK has committed since the start of the conflict in February 2022. The UK said its support contributes to an international response that reached 11 million people in Ukraine in 2023 and 15.8 million in 2022.

‘West should be bolder’

Western nations should be bolder about confiscating Russian assets which they froze after the country’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

Sunak, in an article in an early edition of the Sunday Times to mark two years since the start of the conflict, said Ukraine continued to need more long-range weapons, drones and munitions, as well as other assistance.

“We must be bolder in hitting the Russian war economy …. And we must be bolder in seizing the hundreds of billions of frozen Russian assets,” he said .

Last month British Investment Minister Dominic Johnson met US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo to discuss the seizure of frozen Russian assets, but stressed this needed to be done in accordance with international law.

The European Union, US, Japan and Canada froze some $300 billion of Russian central bank assets in 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Group of Seven countries have been studying a possible seizure of the assets as a way to have Russia pay for the damage its invasion caused in Ukraine.

Sunak also urged the US to continue to provide financial and military support for Ukraine.

“We should never underestimate what America has done for Ukraine and for Euro-Atlantic security. I urge them to continue that support, and I am confident they will,” he wrote in the article.

Britain’s defense ministry announced £245 million ($311 million) of aid to fund Ukrainian artillery ammunition on Saturday.

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