THE Scottish Government has pledged £65 million to the war effort in Ukraine.

The contribution will make up part of the £1 billion in funding the UK Government is providing to the Ukrainian military for equipment including air defence systems and kit for soldiers.

It follows the £4m in financial aid sent to Ukraine by the Scottish Government for humanitarian assistance and a further £3m for medical supplies.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said the Scottish Government condemns Russia’s unprovoked, illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Forbes added: “Scotland stands for democracy, human rights and the rule of law at home and abroad.

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“We have become a place of refuge and sanctuary for displaced people from Ukraine, and have done all we can to get help those fleeing the country to escape the violence.

“This further funding is to assist Ukrainian armed forces to fight Russian aggression and the unspeakable brutality being perpetrated.

“We have agreed to providing funding on this occasion given the clear need to maximise the international effort to support Ukraine.

“However, we are clear that this must not be seen as any kind of precedent which leads to devolved budgets being used to help pay for clearly reserved policy areas.”

The UK's new funding is a significant increase on the £1.3bn of military assistance already provided, with Boris Johnson claiming British support was “transforming Ukraine’s defences” against the Russian onslaught.

Liz Truss said it was the Government’s “absolute priority” to help Ukraine win the war.

The promise of extra military support comes after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Nato leaders to do more to help his country resist Putin’s invasion.

At the Nato summit in Madrid, which ends on Thursday, the UK promised funding for capabilities including air defence systems, drones and electronic warfare equipment.

The Foreign Secretary said: “I’ve not met Vladimir Putin, I don’t know the motivation for carrying out this appalling war.

“All I know is that we have to make it our absolute priority to stop this war and to push Vladimir Putin and the Russian troops out of Ukraine.”

The UK is counting its support for Ukraine within its defence spending, taking its commitment to around 2.3% of gross domestic product.

Johnson told reporters in Madrid on Wednesday that the UK has massively increased its defence budget.

The Prime Minister said: “I think when you look at what the UK is doing right now, we’re having a bigger defence budget.

“It’s been increased massively, the biggest increase since the end of the Cold War, £24 billon more.

The National:

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez welcome Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the Nato summit 

“In 2021 we were the third-biggest defence spender in the world. Actually, today we’re at 2.3% of GDP (gross domestic product, a measure of the size of the economy), so we’re above the 2% commitment already.

“And if you look at the commitments the UK is making, whether it’s to the Future Combat Aircraft system or to the submarine partnership with Australia and America, these are long-term spending commitments.

“What we’re trying to do today, here in Nato, in addition to everything else, is get our partners to recognise that everybody wants to step up to the plate and they are, and you’ve seen the massive commitments by the Germans, increased expenditure around the table.”

The level of spending on defence has been the source of a row between No 10 and the military, with calls for extra funding for UK forces to meet increased demands as a result of the instability caused by Russia’s actions.

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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told reporters in Madrid: “To be fair, No 10 does say ‘if you include the extra Ukrainian spend’, they have put a sort of caveat to that.

“Because of course it isn’t core defence spending. I mean, it is not my core budget, it doesn’t buy me any more planes, tanks or ships.

“It is obliquely helping Britain’s defence because we’re helping Ukraine.”

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said plans to cut the size of the British Army to 73,000 troops should be abandoned because of the war.

“With threats increasing, the Government risks leaving our armed forces without the equipment and troops they need to fight and fulfil our Nato obligations,” he said.