British PM promises at least $2.63bn for Ukraine war in 2023: FT

Liz Truss arrives in the US with ‘hawkish’ message of continued military support for Kyiv, the Financial Times reports.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss will address the UNGA in New York City on Wednesday [File: Alberto Pezzali/AP]

British Prime Minister Liz Truss is expected to tell world leaders that the United Kingdom’s support for the Ukraine war effort in 2023 will match or exceed the 2.3 billion pounds ($2.63bn) that have been committed by London to Kyiv’s fight against Russia this year.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Truss will deliver the UK’s “hawkish” message of continued and considerable military assistance to Kyiv during a visit to the United States, where she is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City on Wednesday.

“The UK will continue to be right behind you every step of the way,” Truss had promised to the people of Ukraine ahead of her arrival in the US on Tuesday, the FT reported.

The British premier was also expected to use her speech at the UNGA to press Western governments to increase their support for Ukraine, amid advances by Ukrainian forces who are pressing a successful counteroffensive against Russian forces in the east of the country.

London’s commitment of $2.63bn in 2022 to Kyiv resulted in the UK becoming the second-largest military donor to Ukraine, Downing Street told the FT.

UK military aid has involved the provision of hundreds of rockets, 120 armoured vehicles, five air defence systems, and some 27,000 Ukrainian troops have been trained by UK forces since 2015, according to the report.

The FT also said that the “largest commercial road move of ammunition since the second world war was carried out last week” and involved “tens of thousands” of artillery rounds donated by the UK that were sent to front-line Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine said its troops have marched farther east into territory recently abandoned by Russian forces ahead of the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive, paving the way for a potential assault on Moscow’s occupation forces in the Donbas region.

“The occupiers are clearly in a panic,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a televised speech late on Monday, adding that he was now focused on “speed” in liberated areas.

The Ukrainian leader also hinted he would use a video address to the UNGA on Wednesday to call on countries to accelerate weapons and aid deliveries.

“We are doing everything to ensure Ukraine’s needs are met at all levels — defence, financial, economic, diplomatic,” Zelenskyy said.

‘Fighting for every centimetre’

Ukraine’s armed forces were preparing to retake all of Luhansk province from Russian occupiers, the province’s Ukrainian governor Serhiy Haidai said.

“There will be fighting for every centimetre,” Haidai wrote on Telegram. “The enemy is preparing their defence. So we will not simply march in.”

Luhansk and the neighbouring province of Donetsk comprise the industrialised eastern region of Donbas, which Moscow said it intends to seize as a primary aim of its invasion.

Ukrainian troops have begun to push into Luhansk since driving Russian forces out of northeastern Kharkiv province in its lightning counteroffensive this month.

In the south, where another Ukrainian counteroffensive has been making slower progress, Ukraine’s armed forces said they had sunk a barge carrying Russian troops and equipment across a river near Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region.

“Attempts to build a crossing failed to withstand fire from Ukrainian forces and were halted. The barge … became an addition to the occupiers’ submarine force,” the military said in a statement on Facebook.

The Reuters news agency could not independently verify either side’s battlefield reports.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies