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Britain will provide more military equipment to Ukraine in the coming weeks, Downing Street has announced after Rishi Sunak agreed to “intensify” cooperation with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
No10 said the Prime Minister had informed the President that steps were underway “to provide further equipment in the coming weeks and months to ensure Ukraine’s victory on the battlefield”.
Mr Zelensky suggested that “concrete decisions” had been taken on new military equipment after discussing “further defense cooperation” with the British Prime Minister.
“We have agreed to step up our efforts to bring victory closer this year. We already have concrete decisions on this,” the Ukrainian head of state tweeted on Tuesday.
It comes as Russia prepares to ramp up its attacks on Ukraine with exploding drones, according to Mr Zelensky, who warned the Ukrainian people of a protracted bombardment by Iranian-made drones.
“We have information that Russia is planning a prolonged attack by Shaheds [Iranian-made exploding drones]’ said the President of Ukraine in his recent video address.
Mr Zelensky said Russia’s goal was to break Ukraine’s resistance by “wearing out our people, [our] Air Defense, Our Power”, more than 10 months after the invasion.
Russia’s use of exploding drones appears to have intensified in recent days, with Moscow bombing Ukrainian cities and power plants over the past three nights.
The battle chief added that in the first two days of the new year, Ukrainian forces shot down more than 80 Iranian-made drones.
The Kremlin is looking for ways to hit back after a Ukrainian missile attack killed dozens of Russian soldiers in a city in the Donetsk region. In a rare casualty statement, Moscow said the attack killed 63 of its troops.
Mr Sunak told Mr Zelenskyy that Ukraine “can count on Britain for long-term support” during their call on Tuesday – describing Russian drone strikes on Ukrainian cities as “abhorrent”.
Britain recently delivered 1,000 surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine to bolster its defenses against Russian invasion.
More than 1,900 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained in Britain. The ally’s forces were also reinforced with extremely cold weather gear for the winter – including 25,000 pieces of clothing and 20,000 sleeping bags.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is exploring how to bolster confidence in Moscow’s flawed war effort, which has been damaged in recent months by a Ukrainian counter-offensive backed by Western weapons.
Ukraine’s Western-boosted air defenses have made it harder for Russian planes to conduct missile strikes.
The exploding drones deployed by Moscow are cheap weapons that also spread fear among troops and civilians. The US, UK and other Ukraine allies have clashed with Iran over its role in allegedly supplying Iran.
Russian shelling was also reported overnight from the northeastern Kharkiv region and the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region.
In the recently recaptured areas of the southern Kherson region, two people were killed and nine others injured in Russian shelling, Ukrainian Kherson Governor Yaroslav Yanushevich said on Tuesday. He said Russian troops fired on the city of Kherson 32 times on Monday.