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Sunak pledges to spend 2.5% of GDP on defense by 2030

Sunak pledges to spend 2.5% of GDP on defense by 2030

 


Rishi Sunak has promised an extra $75 billion in defense spending over the next six years, warning the world is the most dangerous it has been since the end of the Cold War.

The Prime Minister said the UK would spend 2.5% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense by 2030.

It reaffirms commitment to a target set by Boris Johnson in 2022 and strengthens Mr Sunak's position on the defense budget.

But it is unlikely that committing to 2030 will appease certain conservative MPs who are demanding that at least 3% be spent on defense, at a time when Vladimir Putin's Russia is waging a war against its European neighbor.

Mr Sunak outlined the plan during a joint appearance with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at a military base in Warsaw, Poland.

Under the new spending plan, the UK's defense budget will increase immediately and then rise steadily to $87 billion by the end of the decade.

POLITICS Sunak
(PA Charts)

In a world of increasing threats, we must show our enemies that we are resolute and determined, and that their attempts to destabilize our world and redraw its borders by force will fail.

That with our friends and allies, we will be at the forefront of defending a free and democratic world.

Under my leadership, the UK will always defend our interests, deter our enemies and defend our values.

Rishi Sunak visits Poland and Germany
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, left, with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, centre, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a barracks in Warsaw (Alistair Grant/PA)

The UK's latest defense commitments could be a result of our handling of the economy, Mr Sunak suggested. He said increased defense spending, which would be fully funded without increased borrowing or debt, would put the UK on a war footing. Mr Sunak also promised a long-term funding guarantee for Ukraine.

The UK will provide Ukraine with at least the current level of military support every year it is needed.

Mr Sunak intervened when Mr Stoltenberg was asked how reassured he might be by the UK's announcement of an increase in defense spending as a new government could take office later this year. It would not be appropriate to involve the NATO Secretary General in domestic politics, the Prime Minister said.

Mr Hunt and Defense Secretary Grant Shapps traveled with Mr Sunak and supported the announcement.

The chancellor said this sends the clearest possible message to Putin: if other European NATO countries honor this commitment, which they will, he will never be able to outspend countries that believe in freedom and democracy.

Learning from the war in Ukraine, the government has pledged an additional $10 billion over the next 10 years to ensure the army does not run out of ammunition and missiles.

This is almost double current UK spending on munitions production and will focus on capabilities such as air defense missiles, anti-armor munitions and 155mm artillery shells.

The announcement comes after Mr Sunak unveiled a €500m military aid package including missiles, armored vehicles and boats for Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who spoke with the prime minister on Tuesday morning, said all of this was necessary on the battlefield.

Mr Sunak said Mr Zelensky was in good spirits, very positive about the renewed US support and very grateful for the UK's help.

Mr Sunak also highlighted the importance of Europeans investing in their own security and for NATO countries to meet their 2% defense spending commitment.

He said the news that the US House of Representatives had ended a months-long impasse by approving a crucial US$61 billion (US$49 billion) aid package for Ukraine was very welcome, but added that this does not take away from the need for Europeans to invest in their security.

Mr Sunak warned that Russian President Mr Putin would not stop at the Polish border if his assault on Ukraine succeeded.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a visit to kyiv in January (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Storm Shadow and other missiles, hundreds of armored vehicles and boats, ammunition – all this is needed on the battlefield, he said.

I am grateful to the UK and personally to Prime Minister Sunak for this strong show of support and for their willingness to further develop our defense cooperation, particularly with a focus on maritime and long-range capabilities.

The promised equipment includes about 400 vehicles, more than 1,600 attack and air defense missiles, 60 boats and nearly four million rounds of small arms ammunition.

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