Britain's Boris Johnson urges G-7 not to 'give up' on Ukraine

Johnson, facing political pressure at home, has been steadfast in his support for Ukraine. PHOTO: REUTERS

ELMAU, GERMANY (AFP) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday (June 25) urged fellow G-7 leaders not to "give up" on Ukraine four months into Russia's grinding war, as he pledged fresh financial support for Kyiv.

"Ukraine can win and it will win. But they need our backing to do so. Now is not the time to give up on Ukraine," Johnson said in a statement, on the eve of a Group of Seven wealthy nations summit in the Bavarian Alps.

Britain stands ready to provide another £429 million (S$700 million) in loan guarantees, the statement from Downing Street said, warning that the Ukrainian government fears it could run out of cash by autumn without fresh cash injections.

The pledge raises the total amount of British financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine this year to around US$1.8 billion.

Johnson, under pressure at home over a drubbing in two by-elections and a slew of negative headlines, has been steadfast in his support for Ukraine.

He has twice visited Kyiv since Russia's Feb 24 invasion and sent lethal weapons to the Ukrainian army earlier than other Western allies.

Johnson will join US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and counterparts from Italy, Canada and Japan at Bavaria's Elmau Castle for the G-7 summit from June 26-28.

The gathering will be followed by a crunch Nato meeting in Madrid.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is due to address G-7 leaders on Monday via video link, and according to Downing Street he is expected to urge allies to provide long-term support for his war-torn country.

"Any sign of fatigue or wavering in Western support for Ukraine will play directly into (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin's hands," the statement added.

Johnson's spokesman said as the fighting rages on, Western support for Ukraine needed to enter "a new phase", and the question was how to best "empower" Ukraine.

"That's what the PM will be asking at the G-7 and Nato summits as he encourages his fellow leaders to increase their economic, military and political support to Ukraine," the spokesman said.

"In parallel, we must up sanctions against Putin and his cronies, ensuring they feel the cost of their barbarism."

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