UK to send Ukraine £1bn from critical energy funds to ‘transform defence’ against Russia

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Britain has announced that it will divert money that was allocated to help developing countries tackle the climate crisis, and hand it over to Ukraine as part of a £1billion military aid drive. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the commitment last week during the NATO summit in Madrid. According to figures released by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the UK has contributed $3.72bn (£3.1bn) in military aid to Ukraine, second only to the US which contributed $25.45bn (£29.56bn).

Mr Johnson said: “UK weapons, equipment and training are transforming Ukraine’s defences against this onslaught.”

In a tweet, Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng revealed where some of the money to help Ukraine fight Russia was coming from.

He said: “A vital £1billion commitment from Boris Johnson to enhance Ukraine’s resistance against Russia.

“British weapons, equipment and training are transforming Ukraine’s defences.

“My Department has contributed to the effort by surrendering climate finance and foreign aid underspends.”

The International Climate Finance is a UK government commitment to support developing countries to respond to the challenges and opportunities of climate change.

The initiative began as part of the UK’s UN climate presidency since COP26 last November when Britain urged major industrial nations to boost their spending to help underdeveloped countries improve their energy systems and build defences against rising seas and extreme weather events.

Some Britons were furious that this money was redirected to Ukraine, at a time when the UK is facing eye-watering energy bills.

One person tweeted: “How about money for the people of the UK?

“People starving, scared of using gas/elec & being robbed on the forecourts?”

Another responded to Mr Kwarteng saying: “So instead of insulation for British homes that would cut dependency on Russian fossil fuels, you are installing weapons in Ukraine.”

The move to divert climate funds was condemned by climate finance experts, with Vladislav Kaim, a Moldovan youth climate adviser to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, saying it “sounds obscene, and using help to the people of Ukraine as a shield against criticism on this is double obscene.”

He also highlighted that rich countries have so far failed to deliver on the $100billion a year climate aid promised since COP 16 in Cancun.

According to the Overseas Development Institute, Britain has fallen underspent on all the budget it has allocated to climate finance in the past.

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Sarah Colenbrander, director of the development institute’s climate program slammed the move saying: “Underspending against already inadequate commitments is hardly something to be proud of.

“Particularly when global investments in clean energy and energy efficiency would only enhance energy security.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, financed by its oil and gas exports, should underscore the urgency of accelerating the low-carbon transition rather than offer an excuse to re-purpose climate finance.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reportedly refused to tell Politico how large the current underspend on climate finance or aid was, nor did they clarify how much the office had diverted to the call for military aid.

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