PM Rishi opening remarks at JEF Summit

F.P. Report

LONDON: The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressed the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) Leaders’ Meeting in Riga, Latvia.


Prime Minister Krišjānis, thank you so much for hosting the summit. Thank you for hosting us all.


As you said, it’s an incredibly important time for this group to come together and discuss first and foremost the situation in Ukraine.


Volodymyr and his people have really inspired us all.


They have demonstrated that thanks to their determination, Putin is realising that he cannot win on the battlefield.


And that means he is now escalating the conflict in a way that is bringing about quite frankly appalling consequences for the people of Ukraine.


I saw it myself when I visited recently and I’m sure we’ll hear more about it soon.


The JEF nations, all of us around this table are some of Ukraine’s closest friends and allies.


We’ve taken a lead in supporting them thus far and I know we will continue to do so.


For me, I think there are three priorities for us to consider as we think about next year.


I think the first is ensuring that we deliver more military aid and that military aid evolves to meet the situation that we are now facing.


That means more air defence systems, it means artillery, it means armoured vehicles.


For our part in the United Kingdom, we have pledged to match or exceed the £2.3bn in aid that we provided this year next year and I would very much hope and encourage others around the table to do whatever they can to continue the strong support.


I think secondly, as Krišjānis alluded to, we must be clear that any unilateral call for a ceasefire by Russia is completely meaningless in the current context.


I think it would be a false call.


It would be used by Russia to regroup, to reinforce their troops and until they have withdrawn from conquered territory, there can and should be no real negotiation.


But what we can do is think about that time now.


Think about what we will do with regard to security assurances and that is the planning that I think this group can play an important part in.


And I think thirdly and lastly, we must continue to focus on degrading Russia’s capability to regroup and to resupply and that means going after its supply chains and removing the international support.


Particularly I’m thinking of Iran and the weapons that it is currently providing to Russia, which we should be very strong about calling out as we have done in the United Nations.


But also the economic consequences for Russia must continue to be severe and in that vein, the new oil price cap that the G7 have instituted and others have followed, I think, can be very helpful.


In conclusion, I’ll just say that I think our collective resolve is clear and we have and will continue to support Ukraine.


And that is first and foremost because their security is our security.


And, at that moment, it is a great honour for me to invite my dear friend Volodymyr to address us now.