UK to spend at least £2.3bn on Ukraine war effort in 2023

UK to spend at least £2.3bn on Ukraine war effort in 2023

Liz Truss will tell world leaders this week that Britain will meet or exceed the £2.3 billion it has committed to Ukraine’s war effort against Russia in 2022 next year on her first trip abroad as UK prime minister.

Truss, who met with many leaders on the sidelines of Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral in London on Monday, will arrive in New York on Tuesday with a hawkish commitment to stand by Ukraine for the long haul.

Speaking ahead of the trip, Truss promised the people of Ukraine: “Great Britain will continue to be right behind you every step of the way. She will repeat that message in her address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

Her trip to New York, where she will also hold bilateral talks with US President Joe Biden, marks a return to normal politics in Britain after 10 days of national mourning and the start of a crucial week for her government.

On Wednesday, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the business secretary, will give more details about one energy salvation for companieswhile on Thursday Thérèse Coffey, the health secretary, will unveil a plan to boost the struggling NHS.

Meanwhile, Truss will return to London to watch Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, deliver tax cuts in Friday’s mini-budget, which will focus on her plan to boost Britain’s slow economic growth rate.

Labour, which has refrained from political attacks during the mourning period, will again criticize Truss, arguing that her government will favor wealthy and profitable big business over ordinary people.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, will take aim at Kwarteng’s plan lift the cap on bankers’ bonuseshis refusal to impose an expanded windfall levy on energy companies and his plan to reverse the corporate tax hike.

Ed Miliband, the shadow climate change secretary, said: “From scrapping the windfall tax to handing out bonuses to bankers while workers suffer, Liz Truss is confirming what we’ve known all along: that the Conservatives will never stand up for the British people.”

Kwarteng will argue that his massive government intervention to lower energy bills proves he is helping ordinary people. He argues that tax cuts generate growth, even if they are financed by borrowing.

Truss, foreign secretary in Boris Johnson’s government, will use her speech at the UN to call on the West to step up support for Kiev following Ukraine’s recent successes on the battlefield against Russia.

Truss has previously said Moscow must leave “the whole of Ukraine”: a reference to her belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin should also withdraw his forces from Crimea, which he invaded and annexed in 2014.

Downing Street said the UK is already the second largest military donor to Ukraine, giving £2.3bn in 2022.

Britain has trained 27,000 members of Ukraine’s armed forces since 2015, and No 10 said the UK had provided hundreds of missiles, five air defense systems, 120 armored vehicles and other equipment.

Truss’s allies claim that last week saw the largest commercial shipment of ammunition since World War II. Tens of thousands more rounds of artillery ammunition donated by Great Britain went to the front lines in Ukraine.

Truss’ bilateral talks with Biden will cover issues including the war and the continuing standoff between Britain and the EU over trade arrangements in Northern Ireland after Brexit. Biden has already told Truss he is seeking an amicable solution with the EU on the issue.

On Tuesday, Truss will also speak with French President Emmanuel Macron, who paid an eloquent tribute to the Queen and Anglo-French relations in recent days.

During the Tory leadership contest, Truss said “time will tell” whether Macron was “friend or foe”.

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