UK Set to Provide Ukraine with “Hundreds” of Drones and Air-Defense Missiles

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, arrived in Britain on Monday to meet with Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, who promised “hundreds” of air defense missiles and long-range attack drones to thwart a Russian invasion. The UK government has confirmed Zelensky’s arrival, which comes after he obtained further commitments of military assistance during weekend trips to France and Germany in preparation for a widely anticipated counteroffensive against Russia.

“The UK is a leader when it comes to expanding our capabilities on the ground and in the air,” Zelensky tweeted before meeting Sunak at the prime minister’s country retreat of Chequers. “This cooperation will continue today. I will meet my friend Rishi. We will conduct substantive negotiations face-to-face and in delegations,” he said.

Sunak pointed out that the discussions were taking place before the G7 summit in Japan and the summit of the Council of Europe, which Zelensky will address via video from Iceland. “This is a crucial moment in Ukraine’s resistance to a terrible war of aggression they did not choose or provoke,” the prime minister said in a statement. “We must not let them down,” he added. “The frontlines of (President Vladimir) Putin’s war of aggression may be in Ukraine but the fault lines stretch all over the world,” he continued. “It is in all our interest to ensure Ukraine succeeds and Putin’s barbarism is not rewarded.”

According to a statement from the UK, Sunak will confirm at Chequers “the further UK provision of hundreds of air-defense missiles and further unmanned aerial systems including hundreds of new long-range attack drones with a range of over 200 km” (125 miles). As Ukraine gets ready to step up its opposition to the ongoing Russian invasion, these will all be delivered over the ensuing months.

The most recent delivery follows Britain’s debut as the first Western nation to give Ukraine long-range cruise missiles last week with its Storm Shadow rockets. After the United States, Britain is the second-largest military aid donor to Ukraine. Its assistance package now includes combat flying training, but not fighter jets.