24 Feb 2024, 15:56

UK pledges £245 million to boost Ukraine artillery reserves

LONDON, Feb 24, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Britain announced on Saturday a new £245 
million ($311 million) defence package to help boost the production of 
"urgently needed artillery ammunition" for Ukraine, two years after war broke 
out with Russia.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said Ukraine's armed forces "against all odds" 
had recaptured large parts of the land seized by Russia in its 2022 invasion.

"But they cannot win this fight without the support of the international 
community -- and that's why we continue to do what it takes to ensure Ukraine 
can continue to fight towards victory," he added.

The new funding will be used to "procure and invigorate supply chains to 
produce urgently needed artillery ammunition to boost Ukraine's reserves," 
said the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Ukraine has been "particularly noted for its highly effective use of its 
artillery", which has "proved critical to Ukraine's battlefield successes, 
continuously degrading Russia's forces and preventing them from making 
significant breakthroughs," the MoD added.

In an update to parliament on Thursday, Shapps confirmed the delivery of an 
additional 200 Brimstone anti-tank missiles, bringing the total number to 
more than 1,300.

He also announced the United Kingdom will co-lead an international coalition 
that will supply thousands of drones to Ukraine.

While the total of Ukraine's military losses remains undisclosed by Kyiv, US 
officials reportedly estimate that about 70,000 soldiers have been killed and 
120,000 others injured.

Losses are also heavy on the Russian side, but Moscow appears to be able to 
fill its ranks through coercion and financial incentives -- on top of having 
a bigger population.

Saturday is the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of its 

The UK used the occasion to announce it has also pledged £8.5 million in 
humanitarian funding allocations to the Red Cross Movement and the Ukraine 
Humanitarian Fund. 

The money will bolster Britain's ongoing support for their work with local 
partners, providing emergency responses and "vital humanitarian assistance 
across Ukraine," according to the Foreign Office. 

Around £6 million will support the Red Cross Movement's "neutral and 
impartial work" there, while £2.5 million will fund the Ukraine Humanitarian 
Fund, part of the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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