Ukraine crisis: Johnson to beef up BBC World Service to counter Russia

Officials said the UK has already provided over 4,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces

By Prasun Sonwalkar

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Published: Thu 24 Mar 2022, 2:30 AM

Additional funding of £4.1 million for the BBC World Service is among a ‘major new military support package’ Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to announce at a meeting of NATO and G7 leaders in Brussels on Thursday, official sources said.

The new measures include 6,000 missiles, consisting of anti-tank and high explosive weapons, and £25 million in financial backing for the Ukrainian military, which will help to pay salaries of Ukrainian soldiers, pilots and police and ensure the armed forces are well equipped with high-quality equipment.

This more than doubles the defensive lethal aid provided to date to more than 10,000 missiles, and comes on top of the £400 million the UK has committed in humanitarian and economic aid for the crisis, the officials added.

The BBC World Service will receive £4.1 million in emergency funding to support its Ukrainian and Russian language services in the region, and to help it create content to counter disinformation about the war in Ukraine.

Officials said the UK has already provided over 4,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces, including Next-Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons Systems, or NLAWs, and Javelin missiles. London is also supplying Starstreak high-velocity anti-air missiles to help Ukrainians defend themselves against aerial bombings, as well as body armour, helmets and combat boots.

Johnson said: “Vladimir Putin is already failing in Ukraine. The Ukrainian people have shown themselves to be extraordinarily brave and tenacious in defending their homeland, in the face of an unprovoked onslaught”.

“But we cannot and will not stand by while Russia grinds Ukraine’s towns and cities into dust. The United Kingdom will work with our allies to step up military and economic support to Ukraine, strengthening their defences as they turn the tide in this fight”.

He added: “One month into this crisis, the international community faces a choice. We can keep the flame of freedom alive in Ukraine, or risk it being snuffed out across Europe and the world.”

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab will also chair a meeting of justice and foreign ministers in The Hague on Thursday to coordinate support for the International Criminal Court’s war crimes investigations.

He is expected to announce an additional £1 million in funding for the court, as well as new support from UK soldiers with expertise in intelligence gathering and the Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Team.


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