UK boosts drone support for Ukraine

Britain will increase its spending on drones for Ukraine by 125 million pounds, raising the total number of drones supplied to more than 10,000, the government said on Thursday
British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps walks to attend a cabinet meeting in London, Britain, March 6, 2024.
British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps walks to attend a cabinet meeting in London, Britain, March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will increase its spending on drones for Ukraine by 125 million pounds ($160 million), raising the total number of drones supplied to more than 10,000, the government said on Thursday as Defence Secretary Grant Shapps visited Kyiv.

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

Britain's support comes at a crucial time for Ukraine in the two-year war. Vital U.S. military aid has stalled, while Russia's offensive looks more assertive after it took the city of Avdiivka last month, its biggest gain since May 2023.

Drones, which are cheap to produce and can conduct surveillance or target enemies with great accuracy, have emerged as a key weapon in the conflict, with both Ukraine and Russia striving for the upper hand in technology.

KEY QUOTES

"I am ramping up our commitment to arm Ukraine with cutting-edge new drones coming directly from the UK's world-leading defence industries - straight from the factory floor to the frontline. I encourage international partners to join the UK in this effort," Shapps said, as he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

BY THE NUMBERS

Britain said it would expand its drone package to 325 million pounds from the 200 million pounds announced in January.

The package includes thousands of first-person view drones, 1,000 one-way attack drones researched and developed in Britain as well as surveillance and maritime drones.

($1 = 0.7833 pounds)

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar)

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