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UK to Boost Ukraine Artillery Munitions Reserves

Ukrainian AS90 crews fire their 155mm guns during training in March 2023 [Crown Copyright: Cpl Rob Kane]

The UK will spend £245 million throughout the next year to procure and invigorate supply chains to produce artillery ammunition for Ukraine.


Press Release, Whitehall, 24 January 2024: The UK will spend £245 million throughout the next year to procure and invigorate supply chains to produce urgently needed artillery ammunition for Ukraine.

  • This week marks two years since Putin launched his illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and ten years since he first invaded Crimea
  • Defence Secretary says UK will do whatever it takes to ensure Ukraine can continue to fight towards victory
  • New package of funding will replenish Ukraine’s artillery ammunition reserves, which are critical to the war effort

The UK will spend nearly a quarter of a billion pounds throughout the next year to procure and invigorate supply chains to produce urgently needed artillery ammunition to boost Ukraine’s reserves.

Today’s £245 million announcement comes exactly two years to the day since Putin launched his illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine – with artillery having proved critical to Ukraine’s battlefield successes, continuously degrading Russia’s forces and preventing them from making significant breakthroughs.

Ukraine has been particularly noted for its highly effective use of its artillery to conduct counter-battery fire – using drones and UK-supplied radar systems to quickly identify the locations of active Russian artillery and rapidly return fire to destroy them.

The UK has been leading international support for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) for ten years since Russia first invaded Crimea in 2014, training more than 60,000 new recruits since 2015 and committing almost £12 billion in economic, humanitarian, and military aid since 2022.

In an update to Parliament on Thursday, the Defence Secretary confirmed delivery of an additional 200 Brimstone anti-tank missiles to the AFU, bringing the total number of Brimstone provided to Ukraine to more than 1,300 – further building on the UK’s enduring support to Ukraine – having been the first country to announce it would provide modern, Western tanks in the form of Challenger 2 and the first country to provide long-range precision strike missiles in the form of Storm Shadow.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Two years ago to the day, Putin defied all rationality and regulation to launch his reckless and illegal full-scale invasion – throwing tens of thousands of unprepared and unwitting troops into what he described as a limited military operation. But as the war now enters its third year, the steadfast determination and resilience of the brave people of Ukraine continues to inspire the world.

“Against all odds, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have pushed back the Russian invaders to recapture half of the land Putin stole, while significantly degrading Russia’s capabilities – with around 30 per cent of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet destroyed or damaged, and thousands of tanks and armoured vehicles reduced to scrap.

“But they cannot win this fight without the support of the international community – and that’s why we continue to do what it takes to ensure Ukraine can continue to fight towards victory. Nearly a quarter of a billion pounds’ worth of UK funding will boost their critical stockpiles of artillery ammunition, while the Royal Air Force completes a further delivery of advanced tank-busting missiles. Together, we will ensure Putin fails, and a victory for democracy, the rules-based international order, and the Ukrainian people.”

Cook Defence Systems booth at MSPO 2023 in Poland [© Bob Morrison]

Further to the artillery funding and missiles package, a new multi-million pound series of contracts has been signed between the MoD’s procurement arm, Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), and UK-based Cook Defence Systems to provide hundreds of spare caterpillar tracks for tanks and armoured vehicles – which will allow the AFU to recover and restore vehicles damaged by anti-tank weapons and landmines. The contracts will involve a mixture of UK funding and funds from the International Fund for Ukraine.

Last week, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps announced the UK will further co-lead an international capability coalition to supply cutting-edge drones to Ukraine, alongside Latvia, alongside the UK’s co-leadership of the international maritime capability coalition announced in December. During meetings with counterparts last week at NATO headquarters in Brussels and at the Munich Security Conference, the Defence Secretary urged partners and allies to commit to long-term support for Ukraine.

The contracts with Cook Defence Systems, a family-owned business in Northeast England, will boost the local economy and have so far delivered 15 new jobs – delivering on the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy. The company’s experts have been examining and analysing Soviet-era vehicles, some salvaged from Ukraine, to create new tracks to fit a range of requirements. Tracks will be produced to support hundreds of types of vehicle including Soviet-era platforms abandoned by Russian forces and recovered by the AFU, as well as those provided by the UK such as Challenger 2 tanks and CVR(T) reconnaissance vehicles.

UK-provided capabilities have proved highly effective on the battlefield – with Challenger 2 having been described my members of the AFU as being “like a sniper rifle” due to its accuracy at long distances. Brimstone anti-tank missiles have also seen significant use on the battlefield – in one instance, they were used to help force a Russian formation to withdraw from attempting a river crossing.

Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said: “During the past two years, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have become one of the largest, most capable and respected fighting forces in the world. They have presided over extraordinary feats of operational and strategic success, from repelling Russian forces on the outskirts of Kyiv in the opening stages of the war to the spectacular and ongoing campaign in the Black Sea.

“Today the Russian Army has lost half the territory it seized, over 350,000 men killed or wounded, thousands of tanks, artillery pieces and armoured fighting vehicles, the Russian Fleet has been driven from Crimea and Ukraine’s maritime exports are returning to pre-war levels. Russia is failing in all of its strategic objectives to subjugate Ukraine and challenge NATO.

“If we maintain the unity and cohesion we’ve seen to date, and keep strongly supporting our brave Ukrainian partners – militarily, economically and diplomatically – Russia will continue to fail and Ukraine will build the foundations to flourish as a strong, prosperous and sovereign nation. And NATO continues to get even stronger.”

During a visit to Kyiv last month, the Prime Minister announced a further £18 million in humanitarian and economic aid for Ukraine, building on almost £340 million already provided. Some of that funding will support organisations like the UN and Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid on the frontline, and £8 million will go to fortify Ukraine’s energy infrastructure against further Russian attacks.

The UK’s non-military support to Ukraine since the start of the invasion comes to £4.7 billion. This includes £4.1 billion in fiscal support, and over £660 million in bilateral assistance. We have introduced the largest and most severe package of sanctions ever imposed on Russia or indeed any major economy. And we have now sanctioned over 1,700 individuals and entities since Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, and Defence Secretary are all committed to continuing military support for Ukraine, which is why the UK’s military aid budget for FY24/25 has been increased for the first time to £2.5 billion.


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