Britain to spend £2.3 Bn on Ukraine in 2023

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Truss, foreign secretary in Boris Johnson’s government, will use her speech at the UN to urge the west to step up support for Kyiv following Ukraine’s recent successes on the battlefield against Russia…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Liz Truss will tell world leaders this week that her government will next year match or exceed the £2.3 billion it committed to Ukraine’s war effort against Russia in 2022, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

This comes as British politics returns to centre stage on Tuesday after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, with Truss flying to her first major summit in New York.

Speaking ahead of the trip, Truss vowed to the people of Ukraine: “The UK will continue to be right behind you every step of the way.” She will repeat that message in an 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 the return of 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, business secretary, will set out more details of an energy bailout for companies, while on Thursday Thérèse Coffey, health secretary, will present a plan to shore up a struggling NHS.

Meanwhile, Truss will be back in London to see Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, deliver tax cuts as part of a mini-Budget on Friday, which will focus on her plan to boost Britain’s sluggish economic growth rate.

Truss, foreign secretary in Boris Johnson’s government, will use her speech at the UN to urge the west to step up support for Kyiv 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 pull his forces out of Crimea, which he invaded and annexed in 2014.

Britain has trained 27,000 members of the Ukrainian armed forces since 2015, and Number 10 said the UK has provided hundreds of rockets, five air defence systems, 120 armoured vehicles and other equipment.

Truss’s allies claim the largest commercial road move of ammunition since the second world war was carried out last week. Tens of thousands more rounds of UK-donated artillery ammunition went to the front lines in Ukraine.

Truss’s bilateral talks with Biden will cover issues including the war and the continuing stand-off between Britain and the EU over post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland. Biden has already told Truss to seek a negotiated settlement with the EU on the issue.

Truss will also hold talks on Tuesday with French president Emmanuel Macron, who paid eloquent tribute to the Queen and to Anglo-French relations in recent days.

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

No UK-US trade deal anytime soon

Truss said she was more focussed on obtaining accession to the Trans-Pacific trade partnership and striking trade deals with India and the Gulf Cooperation Council of states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Truss said a trans-Atlantic deal is not one of her priorities — a sharp contrast with the stance of her immediate predecessors as Conservative Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and Theresa May. Both dangled the promise of a deal with the world’s biggest economy as one of the main prizes of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

“There [aren’t] currently any negotiations taking place with the U.S., and I don’t have an expectation that those are going to start in the short to medium term,” Ms. Truss told reporters aboard her plane to New York, where she landed on Tuesday to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

Truss said she was more focussed on obtaining accession to the Trans-Pacific trade partnership and striking trade deals with India and the Gulf Cooperation Council of states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar. “Those are our trade priorities,” she said.

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