Sunak to urge NATO to hold nerve against Putin's aggression

Rishi’s rallying cry to the West: Sunak will urge NATO allies to hold their nerve against Vladimir Putin’s aggression and call for the doubling down of military support for Ukraine in its fight for freedom

  • Rishi Sunak will call on Western allies to hold their nerve against Russia’s war
  • At global security conference he will highlight UK’s £2.3bn help for Ukraine

Rishi Sunak will today call on Western allies to hold their nerve against Vladimir Putin’s aggression and ‘double down’ on military support for Ukraine.

The Prime Minister will issue the rallying cry at a global security conference in the run up to the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

He will stress that sustaining Kyiv’s war effort is not just about Ukraine’s security and sovereignty but that of ‘every nation’ because of the ‘broader threat to everything we believe in’.

He will highlight Britain’s £2.3billion contribution since the war broke out, including battle tanks, advanced air defence systems, military training and longer-range missiles.

The level of support given to Ukraine by the international community last year will have to be matched within a matter of weeks, not months, he will warn.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with President Andrzej Duda of Poland in 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of a bilateral meeting on Thursday

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (left) shake hands during a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, February 17

And he will lobby for a new Nato charter to protect Ukraine from future Russian aggression, guaranteeing further support.

He is expected to tell the conference in Germany: ‘Now is the moment to double down on our military support.

‘When Putin started this war, he gambled that our resolve would falter. Even now he is betting we will lose our nerve.

‘But we proved him wrong then and we will prove him wrong now. We need to do more to boost Ukraine’s long-term security.

‘We must give them the advanced, Nato-standard capabilities that they need for the future.’

He will add: ‘What is at stake in this war is even greater than the security and sovereignty of one nation. It’s about the security and sovereignty of every nation.

‘Because Russia’s invasion, its abhorrent war crimes and irresponsible nuclear rhetoric are symptomatic of a broader threat to everything we believe in.’

Mr Sunak is hoping to meet the French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference later today.

The conference, dominated by Nato members, brings together leaders from like-minded countries to discuss security issues.

US vice president Kamala Harris is due to address the gathering before Mr Sunak.

The one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is next Friday.

Ukrainian emergency workers pull down and ensure safety of residential apartment building struck by a Russian missile that exploded mid-morning the day before, killing three people, in Pokrovsk, Ukraine, on February 16

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged world leaders to speed up support for his nation when he addressed the conference by video link yesterday.

Kyiv fears crucial supplies will arrive too slowly to defend against new offensives.

‘We need to hurry up,’ Mr Zelensky said. ‘We need speed – speed of our agreements, speed of our delivery… speed of decisions to limit Russian potential.’

He said there was no alternative because lives were on the line.

Speaking after Mr Zelensky, Mr Macron urged allies to ‘intensify our support’ for Ukraine to aid its forces in launching a counter-offensive.

Mr Scholz insisted German support was ‘designed to last’ but took a veiled swipe at other allies over faltering efforts to deliver promised tanks to Ukraine.

Berlin has vowed to send some of the most modern armaments from its military stocks but is struggling to persuade allies to do the same.

‘Those who can send such battle tanks should really do so now,’ Mr Scholz told the conference.

Ukraine’s pleas for fighter jets have so far fallen on deaf ears.

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