UK budget outlook touts Ukraine defense arms shipments

LONDON — The British government has given Ukraine more than £100 million, or $132 million, worth of weapons and other equipment to help Ukrainian forces repel the increasingly bloody invasion of the Russia, according to documents released by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on March 23.

This support has taken the form of anti-tank weapons, for example, which London has sent “thousands” to war-stricken Ukraine, according to the government’s so-called economic forecast. Additionally, London ‘allows up to £3.5 billion ($4.6 billion) in export financing to support Ukraine, including defense capability,’ according to the released documents. by the Treasury.

The latest official figure provided by the UK Ministry of Defense for the supply of Thales-made light anti-tank weapons to the UK stands at 3,615, although Defense cultist Ben Wallace appeared to tell two Russian callers last week that more than 4,000 missiles had been supplied and Britain was running out of weapons

Wallace announced last week that Britain was considering stepping up its arms supply efforts to Ukraine by sending a British Army StarStreak short-range surface-to-air missile, also made by Thales UK.

A small number of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon anti-tank missiles are also expected to be sent, according to Wallace.

There were hopes that the spring statement, also known here as the “mini-budget,” could be a vehicle for an announcement on increased defense spending here driven by the growing threat from Russia.

But Sunak barely mentioned defense and limited his statement to tax and other domestic issues.

The chancellor is under increasing pressure from lawmakers to increase defense spending, but a statement released as part of the spring 2022 settlement appears to indicate that Sunak believes he has already given enough to defense for now, after a major boost in 2020.

“The 2021 Integrated Review identified Russia as the most acute security threat to the UK. Reflecting this, the Ministry of Defense received the largest sustained increase in spending since the Cold War, with an increase cash flow of £24 billion ($38 billion) over four years.The settlement ensures that the UK continues to exceed NATO’s 2% of GDP funding guideline and remains one of the main defense spenders within NATO,” the Spring Statement documents say.

Andrew Chuter is the UK correspondent for Defense News.

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