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Sunak pledges more weapons for Ukraine until it becomes NATO member

British PM also called for "a new framework for Ukraine’s long-term security"

LONDON, February 18. /TASS/. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has agreed with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that Ukraine will become a member of NATO, but believes until this happens, military aid for Kiev should be bolstered, Sunak said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

"As Jens Stoltenberg has said, ‘Ukraine will become a member of NATO.’ But until that happens, we need to do more to bolster Ukraine’s long-term security," Sunak said, clarifying that he speaks about "artillery, long-range weapons, armored vehicles, air defense" as well as the training of pilots on the NATO-standard equipment.

"Together we’re delivering as much equipment in the next few months as in the whole of 2022," Sunak said. "We gave ·2.3 billion ($2.8 billion - TASS) last year - and we will match or exceed that in 2023.

Sunak called for "a new framework for [Ukraine’s] long-term security," for Russia to "be held to account" and added that they should consider "how to ensure that Russia pays towards that reconstruction."

Sunak underlines that "the UK will be the first country to provide Ukraine with longer-range weapons" and admitted that Ukraine can use them to oust Russian forces out of the territories lost by Ukraine, including Crimea.

"There are things that Ukraine needs to gain that decisive advantage on the battlefield. That is why the provision of heavy tanks was so important, so our air defenses are absolutely critical. You are right to mention artillery, and longer-range weapons also help. Those are all the things that will allow Ukraine to defend itself and repel Russian aggression, and indeed to have a counteroffensive that moves Russia outside of its own country," he said when asked whether he would approve of sending long-range missiles to Ukraine that can target Crimea.

On January 19, it was announced that a next aid package for Ukraine will include, in addition to 14 Challenger 2 tanks and 30 AS90 howitzers, evacuation vehicles, vehicles of minefield clearing and construction of pontoon bridges, as well as dozens of drones for artillery target designation. It was mentioned that "hundreds […] armored and protected vehicles," 100,000 artillery shells, hundreds of missiles, including GMLRS and Starstreak guided missiles, medium-range air defense missiles, as well as 600 Brimstone anti-tank missiles. In addition, Kiev will receive spare parts, which, according to calculations of the British military, will make it possible to restore up to 100 Ukrainian armored vehicles, including tanks.