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14 Jan, 2024 08:51

Ukraine to defend UK 'within 24 hours' if attacked – PM

Under a new bilateral security accord, Kiev would have to protect London in the face of a Russian military attack, Denis Shmygal has said
Ukraine to defend UK 'within 24 hours' if attacked – PM

The security agreement recently concluded between Kiev and London will guarantee Ukraine’s military support to the UK, if Russia were to attack the country, Prime Minister Denis Shmygal has said.

Shmygal was referring to the security cooperation agreement that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak signed with Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelensky on Friday. The pact stipulates support for Ukraine’s future integration into NATO and guarantees “prevention and active deterrence of, and counter-measures against, any military escalation and/or a new aggression by the Russian Federation.”

During a telemarathon broadcast on Saturday, Shmygal explained that the agreement is “bilateral” and guarantees mutual support, thus Ukraine will have to “react in one way or another to support the UK in case Russia wants to attack our friend, partner, and ally.”

“Not only Great Britain has to react within 24 hours if there is aggression against Ukraine, Ukraine will also defend its ally and partner within 24 hours,” Shmygal said as cited by Ukrainskaya Pravda.

Shmygal also called the signing of the accord a “historic moment” and expressed hopes that other countries will follow suit.

Earlier this week, Rishi Sunak paid a visit to Kiev to reaffirm Britain’s support for Kiev in the wake of US military aid drying up.

The British prime minister pledged £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in military assistance to Ukraine over the next two years, London’s largest aid package since the beginning of the military conflict in February 2022. 

The bilateral accord detailed by Sunak’s government – the UK-Ukraine Agreement on Security Cooperation – includes a range of measures on UK security guarantees for Ukraine. The agreement also formalizes Britain’s “swift and sustained” defensive assistance for Ukraine “in the event that it is ever attacked by Russia again.”

The aid package confirmed by London on Friday is about £200 million ($254 million) larger than those provided in the previous two years, and will supply Ukraine with long-range missiles, air defense, and artillery ammunition. About £200 million of the military aid will be spent on drones – the largest such contribution of state-of-the-art military drone hardware since the onset of hostilities nearly two years ago.

It also includes £18 million ($23 million) in humanitarian aid, as well as assistance to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and funding for online English-language training.