British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, will pledge at a UN summit to meet or exceed the £2.3 billion (US$2.6 billion) of military aid spent on Ukraine in 2022 in the next year, doubling down on her support for Kyiv after Russia’s invasion.
Truss, on her first international visit as Prime Minister, will call on other leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York to help end Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe, saying it has allowed too many lives to be “manipulated”.
Her trip to New York, just hours after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, is the first event in a busy return of British politics, put on hold during a period of national mourning for the late monarch.
It marks the start of a packed week for Britain’s new Prime Minister, when her government is expected to set out a new energy support package for businesses, a plan to help the National Health Service and much-promised tax cuts.
In New York, where Truss will meet US President Joe Biden on Wednesday (Sep 21), the British leader will again pledge her support to Ukraine, which she said, has managed to push back Russian forces with the help of Western military aid.
“My message to the people of Ukraine is this: the UK will continue to be right behind you every step of the way. Your security is our security,” she said in a statement before her speech to the summit, which begins on Thursday.
“Too many lives – in Ukraine, in Europe and around the world – are being manipulated by a dependence on Russian energy. We need to work together to end this once and for all.”Liz Truss
Britain indicated that it was the second-largest military donor to Ukraine, committing £2.3 billion in 2022, and that support next year would be determined by the Ukrainian army’s needs, although it is expected to include equipment such as rocket artillery systems.
Culture minister, Michelle Donelan, disclosed that the purpose of the trip to New York was “not to secure a trade deal”, although it might be discussed at the Biden meeting.
Britain had viewed a trade deal with the United States as one of the biggest prizes of leaving the European Union but hopes of a quick agreement were dashed when the Biden administration made clear, it was not a priority.
Truss faces whirlwind week as politics resumes after Queen’s funeral
British politics returns to centre stage on Tuesday (Sep 20) after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, with Prime Minister Liz Truss signaling her priorities by flying to her first major summit and rushing out measures to try to avert an economic slump.
Since the queen’s death on Sep 8, politics – or at least the discussion of its ins and outs – has been on pause for a period of national mourning, out of respect for a monarch who reigned for 70 years.
The timing of the political pause was frustrating for some in government, coming after a two-month leadership campaign and when Britain risks falling into a lengthy recession and faces an energy crisis that threatens the finances of millions.
But it has, according to sources, allowed some of Truss’s ministers time to get established in their new departments and fine tune their policies.
New policies will be crammed in during the few days at the end of the week in parliament, which government hopes will sit for an additional day on Friday before breaking up for the annual season of party conferences.
They will include a support package to help businesses cope with rising energy prices, a statement on possibly cutting waiting times for treatment at Britain’s state-run National Health Service and much promised tax cuts to try to spur growth.
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