“Winter is a big challenge,” the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenkyy told the US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Brussels today (11 October 2023), “We really need the help of our partners to protect critical infrastructure. Air defence is not just a military issue; normal life depends on it.”

Always responsive to Ukraine’s struggle against the Russian invasion, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced a new package of military support, worth more than £100m ($122.9m), in the form of contracts for air defence systems and mine disposal technologies as well as vehicle maintenance.

Balancing the counter-offensive with defensive countermeasures

This equipment will help to shore up Ukraine’s defensive fortifications to protect critical national infrastructure.

In tandem, EU member states are focused on delivering much-needed ammunition as Ukraine makes the most of the waning time it has left to gain a decisive edge in its ongoing counter-offensive before winter slows their progress.

The MoD is financing the package through the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU) – a funding mechanism launched by the UK and Denmark last year, which uses financial contributions from global partners to furnish the Ukrainian Armed Forces with various capabilities.

The package has been jointly announced today by the UK Defence Secretary and his counterparts from the IFU partner nations at a meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group at Nato headquarters in Brussels.

The new package comes as the final contract from the previously announced IFU package of air defence capability was signed, which will see more than £70m of capabilities provided to Ukraine – including the MSI-DS Terrahawk Paladin, a platform which can track and destroy drones and protect critical national infrastructure.

Protecting Ukraine’s national infrastructure as winter approaches

The Institute for the Study of War revealed that Russian forces conducted a series of missile strikes targetting Ukrainian rear areas and port infrastructure on the night of October 6-7.

The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command reported that Russian forces launched Onyx cruise missiles from occupied Crimea at Chernomorsk and Poltava Oblast Head Dmytro Lunin stated that Russian forces conducted a missile strike on Myrhorod, Poltava Oblast.

The Ukrainian General Staff reported that the Russian strikes damaged a granary, residential buildings, educational buildings, and other civil infrastructure.

British Army Chief of Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, explained the necessity of the latest equipment to secure Ukraine sustains its people as winter approaches:

“This winter Russia will seek to undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and divide the international community… In both cases Putin underestimates the strength and resilience of his opposition.

“If we stick together, and stay the course, then Russia will continue to lose, Ukraine will prevail and the rules that matter to global security will endure.”