UK Sends Ukraine Long-Range Missiles in Biggest Aid Package

(Bloomberg) -- The UK will send more Storm Shadow long-range missiles to Ukraine as part of its single biggest military aid package to the country since Russia’s invasion, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

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As well as the Storm Shadows, which are precision-guided cruise missiles with a firing range in excess of 250 kilometers (155 miles), Britain is also sending more than 1,600 strike and air defense missiles, Sunak’s office said. The package amounts to £500 million ($620 million) of new spending, taking total UK military aid to Ukraine this financial year to £3 billion.

“Defending Ukraine against Russia’s brutal ambitions is vital for our security and for all of Europe,” Sunak said in a statement ahead of a 2-day trip to Poland and Germany beginning Tuesday. If Russian President Vladimir Putin “is allowed to succeed in this war of aggression, he will not stop at the Polish border,” the premier added.

On Tuesday, Sunak told reporters traveling with him that he’s appointing General Gwyn Jenkins, who currently serves as the vice chief of the defense staff, as his new national security adviser, the first time someone from a military background has held the role. Jenkins replaces Tim Barrow, who a person familiar with the matter said will be Britain’s next ambassador to the US.

“In an incredibly uncertain and increasingly dangerous world, it’s important the person doing this job has the requisite set of skills to provide advice to me and to help navigate that landscape,” Sunak told reporters.

Sunak will hold meetings with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Warsaw, before traveling to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday. On Tuesday morning he held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to reiterate Britain’s support and his efforts to galvanize wider international assistance, according to a readout provided by 10 Downing Street.

Zelenskiy has been calling for more air defense systems as Russian forces exploit Ukraine’s ammunition shortage by stepping up missile attacks on power stations, electricity grids and residential areas. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said last week that Ukraine urgently needs more air defense.

As part of the new funding, Britain will also procure drones to be sent to Ukraine, scaling up domestic defense supply chains.

The package also includes some 60 boats, comprising offshore raiding craft, dive boats and maritime guns, as well as more than 400 vehicles, including “Husky” vehicles and over 160 other armored vehicles. Some 4 million rounds of small arms ammunition will also be included.

--With assistance from Kitty Donaldson.

(Updates with new national security adviser in fourth paragraph.)

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