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Zelenskyy and Sunak sign landmark security pact between UK and Ukraine

The UK has reaffirmed its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as it signed a ten-year security cooperation agreement with Kyiv.
The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, and Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during their meeting in Kyiv on 12 January 2024. Credit: Presidential Office of Ukraine.
Zelenskyy and Sunak sign landmark security pact between UK and Ukraine

On 12 January 2024, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Rishi Sunak, signed a Ukraine-UK security agreement in Kyiv, the Presidential Office of Ukraine reported.

The UK has been one of the largest suppliers of military aid to Ukraine, has been training the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and was the first European country to provide lethal assistance to Ukraine, including long-range Storm Shadow missiles and British-made Challenger-2 main battle tanks.

The Agreement on Security Cooperation between Ukraine and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, signed by President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Sunak, stipulates a ten-year term with the possibility of extension.

The UK’s security commitments under this agreement will remain in effect until Ukraine joins NATO, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after the signing.

If Ukraine joins NATO before the end of the term, the security commitments will expire, and Ukraine will be incorporated into the NATO security system, according to the UK-Ukraine security agreement.

“If such guarantees had been achieved in 1991, particularly with Britain, the war would not have started,” President Zelenskyy said.

This agreement is intended to further the Joint Declaration launched by the UK, Ukraine, and other members of the G7 in Vilnius (Lithuania) on 12 July 2023 and subsequently joined by a further 24 states.

The UK-Ukraine security agreement builds on the Political, Free Trade and Strategic Partnership Agreement of 8 October 2020, which remains the foundation of UK-Ukraine collaboration.

“This agreement formalizes the security arrangements that we have now. Secondly, it ensures that this support is long-term so that Russia understands that we stand with Ukraine,” Rishi Sunak said. “If Russia attacks again, we will provide the support that Ukraine needs, fast and reliable security support, modern weapons (for defense) on land, sea and air, economic support, and we will impose sanctions that will have a price for Russia. This is a clear and important commitment,” the British Prime Minister added.

At the NATO summit in Vilnius in July 2023, the G7 countries agreed on a framework document on “security guarantees” for Ukraine. The UK-Ukraine security agreement is the first specific bilateral agreement signed by Ukraine with one of the G7 states that agreed to provide security guarantees in 2023.

The Prime Minister of the UK, Rishi Sunak, came to Kyiv on the morning of 12 January.

“I am in Ukraine to deliver a simple message. Our support cannot and will not falter. To all Ukrainians, Britain is with you – for as long as it takes,” Rishi Sunak said.

The British Prime Minister met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and visited the session of the Verkhovna Rada (the parliament of Ukraine). Ukrainian MPs met the British Prime Minister with a standing ovation.

Following the meeting with Ukraine’s President and MPs, Rishi Sunak has announced a new £2.5 billion military aid package for Ukraine, the UK’s largest single package since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. The package includes additional air defense equipment, anti-tank weapons, long-range missiles, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and training for thousands more Ukrainian soldiers.


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