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10 Apr 2024

UK and Ukraine sign new defence pact

UK and Ukraine sign new defence pact
UK Department for International Trade
UK Ministry of Defence Press Release

The UK and Ukraine sign a new defence agreement to encourage cooperation on defence and industrial issues. 

  • UK and Ukraine sign new arrangement on defence and industrial cooperation 
  • Signing came during UK’s largest ever trade mission to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion, with 29 UK defence businesses in Kyiv to meet Ukrainian businesses 
  • Trade Minister Greg Hands also in Kyiv to sign the arrangement, co-chair Infrastructure Taskforce and attend trade mission

The UK and Ukraine have signed a new defence agreement to encourage cooperation on defence and industrial issues.  

The signing, which took place in Kyiv, came during UK’s largest ever trade mission to Ukraine, with a delegation of 29 UK businesses travelling to the country to speak about their expertise and find opportunities for cooperation.  

The arrangement is the latest sign of the UK’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s defence efforts and long-term recovery and will help make Ukraine’s military operations more efficient. It’s designed to enable both countries to work together to tackle security challenges, enhance defence industries, and deliver high-profile joint projects over the coming months.  

Increased co-operation could see dozens of projects between some of the UK’s biggest defence companies, Ukraine’s Armed Forces and Ukrainian companies – from establishing strategic military repair facilities to rebuilding civilian infrastructure and implementing technology to defend against cyber-attacks.  

During the trade mission to Kyiv, UK defence company BAE Systems agreed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence to maintain and repair gifted L119 Light Guns in Ukraine. This means L119s which were donated by the UK to Ukraine can be serviced in country and returned to the frontline quicker and provides vital support for Ukraine’s defence infrastructure.

UK Minister for Trade Policy Greg Hands, who accompanied the business delegation and signed the arrangement, said: 

"The UK has led the world in support of Ukraine following Russia’s full-scale invasion.  

"Now is the time to double down on our support so Ukraine not only wins the war but emerges from it as a strong and resilient country. Defence is a critical element of that which is why we’re facilitating further defence trade between our nations with this Agreement. 

"Our trade missions, alongside this signing, are testament to the UK’s integral role in boosting Ukraine’s war-time economy and facilitating their long-term recovery."

UK Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said:  
"This is the latest demonstration of the UK’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine, as they continue to fight back against Putin’s illegal invasion.  

"This is now a war of industrial production and so it is key that we unleash the capability, capacity, ingenuity and innovation of our respective industrial bases.  

"The Framework Arrangement will augment this joint activity, further supporting the brave men and women of the Armed Forces of Ukraine."

Alexander Kamyshin, Minister of Strategic Industries of Ukraine, said: 
"It was the UK that was the first country to sign the Security Cooperation Agreement with Ukraine, and it was British defence companies that were the first to open their offices here after the start of the great war.  

"Our partnership is developing, and today we are one step closer to British manufacturers being the first to start producing their weapons in Ukraine."

Gabby Costigan, BAE Systems’ Group Managing Director, Business Development said:  

"We’re extremely proud to work with the UK Government in supporting Ukraine’s long term defence requirements.  

"Our experience providing support in challenging environments as well as our leading defensive cyber capabilities mean we’ve played a leading role in identifying solutions that will help Ukraine secure victory and we look forward to strengthening our relationship further."

The UK has now provided almost £12 billion in military, humanitarian and economic support to Ukraine.  

This new Framework Arrangement follows the historic UK-Ukraine Agreement on Security Cooperation, which was signed by the Prime Minister and President Zelenskyy in January 2024, and marked the start of an unshakeable hundred-year partnership between the UK and Ukraine. 

The UK’s private sector plays an important role in Ukraine’s recovery. As part of the mission, the UK-Ukraine Infrastructure Taskforce, which provides expertise on the rebuild of Ukraine’s infrastructure, met with Trade Minister Greg Hands and Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov agreeing further support for Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts.   The National Digital Twin Programme also showcased UK creativity and expertise and extended an offer of capability building workshops to facilitate smart cooperation in critical infrastructure projects covering the entirety of Ukraine.   

Further to this, joint work between UK Export Finance (UKEF) and the Government of Ukraine has led to the opening of the first of six bridges as part of our ongoing support through the Infrastructure Taskforce to rebuild critical infrastructure in Ukraine. 

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