Ukraine’s future is in the West’s hands

The UK is in this for the long haul — and our fellow allies must step up too.

2024 marks a pivotal crossroads: The greatest democratic year in history, with nearly half of the world’s population heading to the polls, it’s also the year that may decide the fate of Ukraine’s vibrant democracy.

We know that Russia’s prepared for a war of attrition no matter how many tens of thousands of its own citizens it loses, and that Moscow’s spending ever more of its resources on the ongoing conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s defense and security spending is already set to reach a staggering 40 percent of the country’s budget expenditure. And the Kremlin has upped the ante since the start of the year, increasing the intensity of its attacks.

In light of all this, Ukraine has done an unbelievable job of repelling its invader. It has retaken 50 percent of the territory stolen by Russia, and opened up a maritime passage in the Black Sea.

But Kyiv needs more support — and not just from the United Kingdom. Our fellow allies must step up too.

For its part, the U.K. has been intensifying its efforts to aid Ukraine, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv earlier this month. And during his visit, Sunak announced the increase of U.K.’s military support to £2.5 billion — taking Britain’s total military aid to over £7 billion.

This new money includes £200 million for manufacturing and procuring surveillance, long-range strike, and sea drones, now making the U.K. — which was the first European nation to send Ukraine anti-tank weapons, modern Western main battle tanks and precision long-range missiles — the country’s largest provider of drones.

Even more significantly, during his trip the prime minister signed a historic U.K.-Ukraine Agreement on Security Cooperation. Formalizing support on everything from intelligence sharing and cyber security to medical and military training, this agreement lays the foundations for a century-long partnership.

The message couldn’t be clearer: The U.K. is in this for the long haul.

By Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps is the United Kingdom’s secretary of state for defence.

Source:, January 24, 2024

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