Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a $60 billion air defense package for Ukraine during his first visit to Kyiv on Saturday, according to Downing Street.
During his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Sunak “confirmed that the UK will provide a major new package of air defense to help protect Ukrainian civilians and critical national infrastructure from an intense barrage of Russian strikes,” according to a Downing Street press release.
“The £50 million package of defense aid comprises 125 anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter deadly Iranian-supplied drones, including dozens of radars and anti-drone electronic warfare capability,” the statement continued.
During his surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital, Sunak laid flowers at a memorial for Ukraine’s war dead and lit a candle at a memorial for victims of the 1930s Holodomor famine, according to the statement.
The prime minister also met with Ukrainian first responders who recounted their “harrowing work” rescuing survivors from the rubble and fighting fires caused by Russian airstrikes and mortar attacks.
“It is deeply humbling to be in Kyiv today and to have the opportunity to meet those who are doing so much, and paying so high a price, to defend the principles of sovereignty and democracy,” Sunak said, according to the statement.
He expressed his pride that the UK has “stood with Ukraine from the very beginning,” saying his visit signified the UK’s commitment to “continue to stand with Ukraine, as it fights to end this barbarous war and deliver a just peace.”
In addition to the air defense package, Sunak also committed $14 million (12 million pounds) in funding for the World Food Programme’s Ukraine response as well as $5 million (4 million pounds) for the International Organization for Migration’s Ukraine response.