UK PM to meet leaders on Europe’s northern frontier at the second JEF Summit to strengthen efforts to counter Russian aggression.
Press Release, 10 Downing Street, 19 December 2022: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to travel to Latvia today [Monday] to discuss ongoing efforts to counter Russian aggression in the Nordic and Baltic region with his Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) counterparts. The JEF brings together ten like-minded nations who share a commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as well as a long history of shared military operations.
Acknowledging the regional challenges faced by the Nordic and Baltic countries, including Russia’s continued aggression, the Prime Minister will call on leaders at JEF to sustain or exceed 2022 levels of support for Ukraine in 2023 through ongoing lethal aid, economic resilience and political backing. His call will come as the UK announces it will supply hundreds of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition next year, under a £250 million contract that will ensure a constant flow of critical artillery ammunition to Ukraine throughout 2023.
The UK is already Europe’s leading provider of defensive aid to Ukraine, including sending Multiple Launch Rocket Systems and recently, 125 anti-aircraft guns. We have also provided more than 100,000 rounds of ammunition since February, with the deliveries directly linked to successful operations to retake territory in Ukraine. The Prime Minister personally updated President Zelenskyy on the new support last week, which will form part of the UK’s 2023 package of defensive aid.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “From the Arctic Circle to the Isle of Wight, the UK and our European allies have been in lockstep in our response to the invasion of Ukraine, and we remain steadfast in our ambition for peace in Europe once again.
“But to achieve peace, we must deter aggression and our deployments across the region together are vital in ensuring we are able to respond to the gravest of threats.
“I know this Joint Expeditionary Force summit will only underline our close friendships and unwavering support for Ukraine.”
The JEF meeting, which brings together the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom, will also be addressed by President Zelenskyy. At the summit the leaders will discuss the defensive capabilities needed by Ukrainian forces, including further air defence. They are also expected to accelerate cooperation among JEF nations, bolster intelligence sharing, strengthen defences to hybrid threats and protect critical national infrastructure. As part of that increased collaboration, they will also discuss support to Finland and Sweden ahead of their accession to NATO, and scaling up joint exercises to further strengthen the JEF alliance.
Following the JEF summit, the Prime Minister will meet the newly-reappointed Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, underscoring the close partnership between the two countries, before travelling on to Estonia, where he will meet UK and NATO troops serving on NATO’s eastern flank. He will also sign a new innovative tech partnership with the Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas. The joint partnership is set to harness the shared expertise between the two countries, helping both the UK and Estonia bolster technology ties and support new digital infrastructure.
The agreement will see both countries accelerate digital research and innovation, and strengthen cooperation across health, education, cyber security, data and connectivity.