Monday, October 3, 2022

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UK PM pledges at least $2.63 billion for 2023 war in Ukraine: FT

Liz Truss arrives in the US with a “hawkish” message of continued military support for Kyiv, the Financial Times reports.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss is expected to tell world leaders that UK support for the war effort in Ukraine will hit £2.3 billion ($2.63 billion) in 2023 or will exceed that London has provided this year for Kiev’s fight against Russia.

The Financial Times reported Tuesday that Truss Kyiv will deliver Britain’s “hawkish” message about continued and significant military aid during a visit to the United States, where she is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City Wednesday.

“Britain will continue to have your back at every step,” Truss had promised to the people of Ukraine ahead of their arrival in the US on Tuesday, the FT reported.

The British Prime Minister was also expected to use her speech to the UNGA to urge Western governments to step up their support for Ukraine amid progress made by Ukrainian forces conducting a successful counter-offensive against Russian forces in the east of the country advance the country.

London’s pledge of $2.63 billion to Kyiv in 2022 saw Britain become the second-biggest military donor to Ukraine, Downing Street told the FT.

According to the report, British military aid included the delivery of hundreds of missiles, 120 armored vehicles and five air defense systems, and around 27,000 Ukrainian troops have been trained by British forces since 2015.

The FT also said that the “largest commercial road transport of munitions since World War Two took place last week” and included “tens of thousands” of artillery shells donated by Britain that were sent to front-line Ukrainian troops.

Ukraine said its troops have moved further east into an area recently deserted by Russian forces in the run-up to Ukraine’s ongoing counter-offensive, paving the way for a possible attack on Moscow’s occupying forces in the Donbass region.

“The occupiers are clearly in a panic,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a televised address late Monday, adding that his focus now is on “speed” in liberated areas.

The Ukrainian leader also indicated that he would use a video address to the UNGA on Wednesday to urge countries to speed up arms and aid supplies.

“We are doing everything to ensure that Ukraine’s needs are met at all levels – defense, financial, economic, diplomatic,” Zelenskyy said.

Ukrainian forces are preparing to recapture the entire Luhansk province from Russian occupiers, Ukrainian provincial governor Serhiy Haidai said.

“Fighting for every inch,” Haidai wrote on Telegram. “The enemy prepares his defenses. So we will not just march in.”

Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk province make up the industrialized eastern region of the Donbass, which Moscow says it wants to take as the main target of its invasion.

Ukrainian troops have started moving into Luhansk after driving out Russian forces in their lightning-fast counter-offensive this month from the northeastern province of Kharkiv.

In the south, where another Ukrainian counter-offensive is progressing more slowly, Ukrainian forces said they sank a barge carrying Russian troops and equipment across a river near Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region.

“Attempts to build an intersection could not withstand fire from Ukrainian forces and were stopped. The barge … became an adjunct to the occupier’s submarine forces,” the military said in a statement on Facebook.

The Reuters news agency was unable to independently verify the battlefield reports from either side.

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