– Prime Minister Boris Johnson at NATO press conference, March 24, 2022.
By Boris Johnson
It is scarcely believable as we stand here [today] that just a month ago, the Ukrainian people were living ordinary, peaceful lives. Now, they are locked in an extraordinary battle for survival against an unprovoked onslaught from their neighbours.
Ukrainians have taken up the fight and taught the world the meaning of bravery. Against the odds, they have snarled up Russia’s invading army, inflicting defeat after defeat. The heroism of Ukraine has changed the geopolitics of Europe.
Vladimir Putin has badly miscalculated in Ukraine, and I believe he knows it. But now that Putin’s Plan A has foundered, he is already escalating by intensifying his attacks on civilians.
Maternity wards, schools and homes have been bombed without any regard for civilian life. Families are being starved out in freezing basement shelters and targeted as they flee.
The United Kingdom and our allies in NATO and the G7 here are clear: we will not stand by while Putin vents his fury on Ukraine.
I have rarely seen our nations more united in recent years than we are now. Putin’s failure in Ukraine is vital for the peace and prosperity of all of us, and his barbaric invasion has galvanised the international community into collective action.
We will work with like-minded allies to ramp up lethal aid to Ukraine at scale, providing kit to president Zelenskyy in the quantity and with the quality and quantity that he needs to defend his country from its bullying neighbour.
I have announced, we in the UK will send an additional 6,000 missiles and provide £25 million in unrestricted funding for Ukraine’s armed forces, more than doubling the lethal aid we have provided to date.
We are bolstering our support for the NATO countries on the frontline, sending a new deployment of UK troops to Bulgaria on top of doubling our troops both in Poland and in Estonia.
This is just the beginning. We must support a free and democratic Ukraine in the long term. This is a fellow European democracy fighting a war of national defence.
NATO and G7 leaders were also united [today] in our determination to continue turning the screws on the Kremlin’s war machine, including by weaning ourselves off Russian oil and gas and reshaping global energy security.
The UK has already hit over 1,000 Russian individuals and entities in our toughest-ever sanctions, and the foreign secretary has announced 65 new sanctions against Russian banks, weapons manufacturers and oligarchs just this morning.
I also discussed the humanitarian response with our allies and partners today, as we continue to see huge numbers of Ukrainians flee their homes.
And the message that president Putin can take from today’s extraordinary meeting of NATO and the G7 is this: Ukraine is not alone.
We stand with the people of Kyiv, of Mairupol, of Lviv and Donetsk. And as president Zelenskyy has said himself – the people of Ukraine will prevail and Putin must fail and he will fail.