UK PM to unveil new military aid in speech to Ukraine parliament |
LONDON, May 3 ― British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce today another £300 million (RM1.63 billion) in military aid for Ukraine in a remote address to its parliament, his office said yesterday.
Johnson will use the speech delivered via video link, the first by a foreign leader to Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada since Russia invaded on February 24, to hail the country’s resistance as its “finest hour”.
“When my country faced the threat of invasion during the Second World War, our parliament ― like yours ― continued to meet throughout the conflict,” he will say, according to excerpts released by Downing Street.
“The British people showed such unity and resolve that we remember our time of greatest peril as our finest hour.
“This is Ukraine’s finest hour, an epic chapter in your national story that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come,” Johnson is set to say.
The new military support, which will include electronic warfare equipment, a counter battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night vision devices, is the latest defensive aid from London.
Last week, it announced plans to send Ukraine armoured vehicles able to fire missiles against invading Russian aircraft, on top of previous contributions that have included anti-tank missiles, air defence systems and tonnes of plastic explosives.
The UK will also dispatch in the coming weeks heavy lift Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems “to provide logistical support to isolated forces”, Downing Street said.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen new specialised Toyota Landcruisers are headed to Ukraine to help protect civilian officials in the country’s east and evacuate people from frontline areas, it added.
The Kremlin has criticised Western countries as they step up donations of military hardware, saying they risk escalating the conflict and warning Russia has the right to respond to any direct interventions.
On the diplomatic front, Britain is also reopening its embassy in Kyiv, with its top envoy there Melinda Simmons telling the UK Sunday newspaper The Observer that it “feels like the right place to be”.
In his address to lawmakers, Johnson is expected to say that Britain is “proud to be among Ukraine’s friends” while reiterating harsh criticism of Moscow’s ongoing invasion.
“Your children and grandchildren will say that Ukrainians taught the world that the brute force of an aggressor counts for nothing against the moral force of a people determined to be free,” he will add. ― AFP