UK puts its defense industry on ‘war footing’ and gives Ukraine $620 million in new military aid – by Vanessa Gera and Sylvia Hui (Associate Press – April 2024)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The U.K. prime minister said Tuesday the country is putting its defense industry on a “war footing” by increasing defense spending to 2.5% of GDP by the end of the decade, and pledged to send arms worth 500 million pounds ($620 million) to Ukraine.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the increase as the “biggest strengthening of our national defense for a generation.” “In a world that is the most dangerous it has been since the end of the Cold War, we cannot be complacent,” Sunak said at a news briefing alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a visit to Poland. “As our adversaries align, we must do more to defend our country, our interests and our values.”

Sunak promised an extra 75 billion pounds ($93 billion) in defense spending over the next six years. The target of 2.5% of GDP spending was a re-commitment of a target set by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2022. Sunak previously said the goal would be met when economic conditions allow.

A decade ago, NATO leaders agreed to commit 2% of GDP to defense spending. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has given that effort new urgency. Britain has spent above that over the past decade but never higher than 2.35% in 2020, according to NATO data.

For the rest of this article: