UK, Northern European allies announce new military support package for Ukraine

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Britain and other northern European allies announced a new £100 million ($123 million) military support package Wednesday for Ukraine, aimed at helping its armed forces clear minefields, maintain vehicles and protect key infrastructure.

The package, to be provided using money from the UK-administered International Fund for Ukraine (IFU), will provide equipment to help its soldiers cross minefields and bridge rivers and trenches, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said (MoD).

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It will also comprise heavy duty plant vehicles to destroy Russian non-explosive obstacles and help Ukraine build defensive positions to protect critical national infrastructure, it added.

The new support comes as Kyiv’s Western backers race to step up weapons deliveries ahead of winter after its summer offensive failed to muster the hoped-for gains on the battlefield.

It also coincides with the final contracts having been signed from a previously announced IFU package that will see more than £70 million of air defence capabilities dispatched to Ukraine, according to the MoD.

They include the MSI-DS Terrahawk Paladin platform, which can track and destroy drones and protect infrastructure.

Britain’s recently appointed Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the new air defence systems would help protect civilians from Russia’s “barbaric bombing campaign” against Ukraine.

He added the new equipment pledged would “give Ukrainian soldiers what they need to breach Russia’s deadly minefields”.

Shapps will jointly announce the support Wednesday alongside counterparts from IFU partner nations at a wider Ukraine-focused meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

The IFU -- a funding mechanism that uses contributions from international partners to procure military assistance for Ukraine -- was launched by Britain and Denmark in 2022 and has raised £785 million to date.

The contributions have come from its founders and five other members -- Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland and Lithuania -- and are administered by London.

Britain’s Admiral Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff, said the new package was “the latest in an unprecedented and sustained effort by 50 nations” to support Ukraine’s war effort.

He argued Russian President Vladimir Putin had underestimated “the strength and resilience of his opposition”.

“If we stick together, and stay the course, then Russia will continue to lose, Ukraine will prevail and the rules that matter to global security will endure,” Radakin said.

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