The United Kingdom will provide around $3.2 billion (£2.5 billion) of military aid to Ukraine over the coming year, its largest annual commitment since Russia’s invasion nearly two years ago.
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the package while visiting Kyiv on Friday where he expressed his continued support of Ukraine’s efforts to thwart the Russian invasion.
“I am here today with one message: the U.K. will also not falter,” Sunak said. “We will stand with Ukraine, in their darkest hours and in the better times to come.”
The $3.2 billion in military funding for Ukraine over the next financial year will cover long-range missiles, thousands of drones, air defense, artillery ammunition and maritime security, according to a statement from Sunak’s office.
According to the BBC, around $250 million will be spent on drones, most of which will be U.K.-made. The military package would result in the largest delivery of drones to Ukraine by any country.
It will also include $23 million for humanitarian aid, to help fortify Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and more funding for online English language training, the BBC reported.
Britain is the second-biggest donor of military aid to Ukraine after the U.S., giving a total of $3.3 billion in 2022 and 2023. The funding is many times smaller than the estimated $75 billion in cash and equipment the Biden administration has sent to Kyiv. House Republicans for months stalled Biden’s request to Congress for an additional $61.4 billion more for Ukraine.
Ukraine and Russia are seeking to replenish their arsenals this year, military analysts say, in anticipation of possible major ground offensives in 2025.
Ukraine says Moscow is receiving artillery shells and missiles from North Korea and drones from Iran. On Jan. 4, the White House cited U.S. intelligence officials as saying that Russia acquired ballistic missiles from North Korea and is seeking them from Iran, according to the Associated Press.
Sunak said that the U.K. “will not falter” in its commitment to help Ukraine forces stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion.
“Today we are going further — increasing our military aid, delivering thousands of cutting-edge drones, and signing a historic new Security Agreement to provide Ukraine with the assurances it needs for the long term,” Sunak said.
The news comes a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he will not consider a cease-fire with Russia, claiming it would only help the invading military bolster its power.
Meanwhile, the United States and Britain carried out a series of air strikes on military locations belonging to Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen early Friday in response to the militant group’s ongoing attacks on vessels traveling through the Red Sea.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.