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British Queen celebrates


The United Kingdom will always be on the side of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

And the security of our European continent will always be our overriding priority.

Now there’s no greater example of those commitments than our response to the war in Ukraine.

Just this year we became the first country in the world to provide tanks to Ukraine - and the first to train pilots and marines.

We gave £2.3 billion last year – and we will match or exceed that in 2023.

Now other allies can tell a similar story – and our collective efforts are making a difference.

But with every day that passes, Russian forces inflict yet more pain and suffering.

Now the only way to change that is for Ukraine to win.

So we need a military strategy for Ukraine to gain a decisive advantage on the battlefield to win the war, and a political strategy to win the peace.

To win the war, Ukraine needs more artillery, armoured vehicles and air defence.

So now is the moment to double down on our military support.

When Putin started this war, he gambled that our resolve would falter.

Even now, he is betting that we will lose our nerve.

But we proved him wrong then.

And we will prove him wrong now.

Together we’re delivering as much equipment in the next few months as in the whole of 2022.

And together we must help Ukraine to shield its cities from Russian bombs and Iranian drones.

And that’s why the UK will be the first country to provide Ukraine with longer-range weapons.

And it’s why we’re working with our allies to give Ukraine the most advanced air defence systems, and build the air force they need to defend their nation.

Now of course, the UK stands ready to help any country, provide planes that Ukraine can use today.

But we must also train Ukrainian pilots to use the most advanced jets, and that’s exactly what Britain is doing…

So that Ukraine has the capability to defend its security for the long term.

But to win the peace we also need to rebuild the international order on which our collective security depends.

First, that means upholding international law.

The whole world must hold Russia to account.

We must see justice through the ICC for their sickening war crimes committed, whether in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol or beyond.

And Russia must also be held to account for the terrible destruction it has inflicted.

We are hosting the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London this June.

And we should consider – together – how to ensure that Russia pays towards that reconstruction.

Now second, the treaties and agreements of the post-Cold War era have failed Ukraine.

So we need a new framework for its long-term security.

From human rights to reckless nuclear threats, from Georgia to Moldova, Russia has committed violation after violation against countries outside the collective security of NATO.

And the international community’s response has not been strong enough.

As Jens Stoltenberg has said, “Ukraine will become a member of NATO.”

But until that happens, we need to do more to bolster Ukraine’s long-term security.

We must give them the advanced NATO-standard capabilities that they need for the future.

And we must demonstrate that we’ll remain by their side, willing and able to help them defend their country again and again.

Ukraine needs and deserves assurances of that support.

So ahead of the NATO summit in Vilnius we will bring together our friends and allies to begin building those long-term assurances.

And our aim should be to forge a new charter in Vilnius to help protect Ukraine from future Russian aggression.

Now let me conclude with one final thought.

What’s at stake in this war is even greater than the security and sovereignty of one nation.

It’s about the security and sovereignty of every nation.

Because Russia’s invasion, its abhorrent war crimes and irresponsible nuclear rhetoric are symptomatic of a broader threat to everything we believe in.

From the skies over North America to the suffering on the streets of Tehran, some would destabilise the order that has preserved peace and stability for 80 years.

They must not prevail. And we need not be daunted.

As President Zelenskyy said when he addressed the UK Parliament last week, we are marching towards the most important victory of our lifetime. It will be a victory over the very idea of war.

And we could have no greater purpose than to prove him right. Photo by HM Treasury, Wikimedia commons.