Rishi Sunak meets with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky at Euro summit as PM offers fresh British aid to war-torn country to survive another winter under Russian siege – after Poland withdraws military support and US help is threatened by Republican feud
Rishi Sunak met with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky as they met at a European summit in Granada.
The Prime Minister warmly greeted the Ukrainian President as they both attended a gathering of the European Political Community in the Spanish city.
Mr Sunak was expected to use the meeting to confirm new allocations of British humanitarian aid to help Ukrainians survive a second winter under siege by Russian forces.
Talks between European leaders in Granada are due to focus on the ongoing work to provide air defence, fighter jets and long-range weapons to Kyiv.
The discussions are also likely to focus on efforts to end Russia’s blockade of Black Sea grain shipments.
Evidence suggests that attacks by Vladimir Putin’s forces have destroyed enough grain to feed more than one million people for a year.
The EPC meeting being attended by Mr Zelensky comes at a fraught time for continued Western support for Ukraine.
Poland last month declared it would no longer be supplying weapons to its neighbour, amid a diplomatic dispute over Kyiv’s grain exports.
Meanwhile, there have been warnings that US funding for Ukraine could become a casualty of infighting between Republicans in Washington DC.
Rishi Sunak met with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky as they met at a European summit in Granada
The Prime Minister warmly greeted the Ukrainian President as they both attended a gathering of the European Political Community in the Spanish city
Mr Sunak was expected to use the meeting to confirm new allocations of British humanitarian aid to help Ukrainians survive a second winter under siege by Russian forces
The historic removal of Kevin McCarthy as the speaker of the US House of Representatives has thrown further doubt over American support for Kyiv.
It has been suggested Mr McCarthy’s replacement as speaker, if they come from the growing number of Republican critics of US aid for Ukraine, could try and put a block on continued assistance.
As well as talks on Ukraine, Mr Sunak will urge European leaders in Granada to follow Britain’s tough action on illegal migration.
He will point to his efforts to crackdown on small boat crossings in the Channel.
The gathering of the European Political Community will be attended by the leaders of 47 countries.
But there have already been tensions between those attending after the summit’s Spanish hosts refused to put migration on the official agenda for the meeting.
Instead national leaders will formally discuss Artificial Intelligence, climate action and the Ukraine war, with talks on migration due to be held on the sidelines of the summit.
The European Political Community – the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron – was formed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
It brings together both European Union member states and those European nations that are outside the Brussels-based bloc.
Former PM Liz Truss attended the first EPC summit in Prague last October, while Mr Sunak made a trip to Moldova in June for its second gathering.
It previously emerged how Mr Sunak had been demanding a formal focus on illegal migration at this week’s EPC summit, but was rebuffed by Spain.
A European diplomat said the UK had ‘pushed’ for the agenda to be switched, but said the efforts were ‘not going to go anywhere’.
Rishi Sunak has arrived in Granada today to urge European leaders to follow Britain’s tough action on illegal migration
The Prime Minister is attending a summit in the Spanish city and will point to his efforts to crackdown on small boat crossings in the Channel
It previously emerged how Mr Sunak had been demanding a formal focus on illegal migration at this week’s EPC summit, but was rebuffed by Spain
A group of people (pictured in August) thought to be migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat travelling from the coast of France and heading in the direction of Dover, Kent
Mr Sunak and right-wing Italian PM Giorgia Meloni will lead breakaway talks on illegal migration and organised crime on the sidelines of the Granada summit.
The PM will use the talks to raise the need for more coordinated action – including intelligence sharing – to address rising levels of illegal migration to Europe.
A Government source told The Times: ‘The mood music on illegal immigration in the EU is changing, with many EU leaders now saying very similar things to Rishi Sunak.
‘They want to know how UK action secured a 20 per cent drop [in small boat arrivals to Britain] and want to work with us. It’s very encouraging.’
Ms Meloni recently welcomed European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, which has seen a recent surge in migrant arrivals.
Speaking ahead of the EPC summit, Mr Sunak said: ‘Levels of illegal migration to mainland Europe are the highest they have been in nearly a decade.
‘With thousands of people dying at sea, propelled by people smugglers, the situation is both immoral and unsustainable.
‘We cannot allow criminal gangs to decide who comes to Europe’s shores.
‘When it comes to facing down the threat from Putin, confronting the risks and opportunities of AI or dealing with illegal migration, there is strength in unity.
‘These issues transcend national borders and require creative Europe-wide solutions – that is what I will be discussing with my fellow leaders at the EPC summit in Spain today.’
The EPC gathering today comes before an informal summit of EU leaders in the same city tomorrow.
The bloc’s member states are then set to use a formal European Council summit towards the end of this month to discuss their growing challenges with illegal migration.
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