Rishi Sunak has promised that the UK will continue to stand with Ukraine, as he announced a £2.5 billion military aid package for the coming year.

The Prime Minister made his first visit of the year to Kyiv with a pledge to continue Britain’s backing of the country and a slight increase in funding for the battle against Russia.

It comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky presses allies in the West to provide the country with more support to fight back against Vladimir Putin’s forces, amid fears that interest is flagging among allies as the war drags on.

The Prime Minister and Mr Zelensky will use the one-day visit to sign a new UK-Ukraine Agreement on Security Cooperation, after G7 countries agreed at last year’s Nato summit to sign bilateral security assurances with the country.

Number 10 said that the £2.5 billion in funding would cover long-range missiles, air defence, artillery ammunition and maritime security, with the support an increase of £200 million on the last two years.

Around £200 million will also be spent on a push to procure and produce thousands of military drones, which the Government said was the largest delivery of drones to Ukraine from any nation.

Most are expected to be manufactured in the UK.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, with Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Major General Gwyn Jenkins (left), on a train travelling through Ukraine (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“We are one of Ukraine’s most significant supporters, particularly when it comes to providing military aid,” Mr Sunak told broadcasters in Kyiv.

“I’m pleased to be here today to announce an increase in the aid that we’re providing.

“The aid that we’ve got in place already runs through to the early part of this year.

“So we’re acting in advance of that expiring with a new commitment of two and a half billion pounds – more than we’ve provided in previous years.

“That represents the seriousness of the situation here and our determination to stand with Ukraine.

“And that’s why I’m here on my first foreign visit of this year, the first foreign leader to visit Ukraine this year.”

He said he wanted “to send a strong signal of support to the Ukrainian people, but also a strong signal of support that Vladimir Putin needs to recognise we’re not going anywhere”.

“I’m here with one clear message.

“The United Kingdom stands with Ukraine.”

Mr Sunak made his first visit to Ukraine in November 2022, weeks after entering Number 10.

Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pictured during a meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at Chequers in Buckinghamshire (Carl Court/PA)

The UK has been among the most vocal backers of Ukraine, with Mr Zelensky visiting London early last year in a historic trip.

The Ukraine leader has previously said that the country particularly needs air defence systems to fend off Russian aerial barrages.

More than 500 drones and missiles were fired between December 29 and January 2, according to officials in Kyiv.

But there have been concerns that global focus on the war has moved, as the crisis in the Middle East continues to escalate and concerns grow about the fate of civilians in Gaza.

The Prime Minister’s visit came only hours after UK and US forces launched strikes against targets used by Houthi rebels in Yemen in a bid to disrupt attacks on commercial shipping.

Mr Sunak met with Ukrainian emergency workers during the visit, with further £18 million in aid also announced for the country.

Funding and resources will also be provided for English language training in the country, Number 10 said.

Labour backed the “vital support” for Ukraine, as Sir Keir Starmer urged the need for politicians to remain united on the issue.

“I think it’s really important that we keep our focus on Ukraine.

“We have had cross-party support for Ukraine for a very long time and we need to maintain that in the face of Russian aggression that has been going on for a long time now,” the Labour leader said.

“I’m supportive of what the Prime Minister is saying today and we will remain united across our political parties in defence of Ukraine against that aggression from Putin.”