Sunak says Nato should make Ukraine security pledge by July

British PM Rishi Sunak urged allies to maintain their support in the war against Russia. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MUNICH - British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Nato allies should finalise a security guarantee for Ukraine when the alliance’s leaders meet at a summit in July.

Speaking in conversation with Ms Maria Tadeo of Bloomberg Television at the Munich Security Conference, Sunak endorsed the idea of Ukraine eventually joining Nato but insisted there must also be a plan to underwrite the country’s security before then.

“We need to think about the future of how we protect Ukraine’s security,” he said. “That’s a conversation that we should start having, because the Vilnius summit is a good place to conclude.”

Nato leaders will meet July 11 and 12 in the Lithuanian capital.

Mr Sunak also called on Ukraine’s allies to send more artillery, long-range weapons, tanks and air-defence systems to fend off the Russian invasion, saying the war has reached an “inflection point” and Kyiv can seize a decisive advantage if it’s given the right weapons.

Mr Sunak said Britain will help countries which are willing to send aircraft to Ukraine now, as he urged allies to maintain their support in the war against Russia.

Mr Sunak has joined former British leaders Boris Johnson and Liz Truss in providing strong support to Ukraine, including through the delivery of weapons and training of troops.

Britain last month became the first country to commit to sending modern main battle tanks to the war-battered nation, a decision that helped pave the way for Germany, the US and others to do likewise.

British tanks will be ready for use in Ukraine as early as March, Mr Sunak has said.

It has so far refused to send fighter jets, but Mr Sunak said that Britain could help in other ways.

“Where other countries are able to provide aircraft immediately, the United Kingdom will happily support them in doing that,” he told the annual Munich Security Conference.

He also said Western allies should consider how to ensure that Russia pays towards the reconstruction of Ukraine once the war has ended, and said the global community needed to recognise that a new framework was required to maintain long-term security.

“From human rights to reckless nuclear threats, from Georgia to Moldova, Russia has committed violation after violation against countries outside the collective security of Nato,” he said.

“And the international community’s response has not been strong enough.”

Earlier this month, the prime minister received a political boost when Mr Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to the UK, praising Britain for backing Ukraine from the very start of the war. BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

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