Among issues such as post-pandemic growth and the energy price spike, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine weighs heavily on the UK – a point that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, reiterated in the Spring 2024 Budget on 6 March, 2024.

“Two years on from Putin’s illegal invasion, the UK remains resolute in its unwavering support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

“In January 2024, the Prime Minister [Rishi Sunak] announced an additional £2.5bn [$3.18bn] of military assistance for 2024-25, an increase of £200m on the previous two years that will leverage the best of the UK’s military expertise and defence production. This brings the UK’s total military support to £7.1bn,” the Budget specified.

Ukrainian startup investor praises Budget pledge

For Andriy Dovbenko, the founder of UK-Ukraine TechExchange, a non-profit start-up programme that supports British and Ukrainian small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that specialise in defence and agricultural technologies, the continued pledge was well received.

Andriy Dovbenko, founder of the UK-Ukraine TechExchange programme. Credit: UK-Ukraine TechExchange.

“The UK’s unwavering financial and humanitarian support for Ukraine has enabled the nation to defend itself against an illegal invasion and war,” he stated.

At the same time, Dovbenko remained concious to how exactly “the £2.5bn additional commitment for 2024-25 is deployed into military expertise, and [that] defence production will be key to turning the tide of the war.”

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He added: “It’s an unfortunate truth that war drives technology breakthroughs and I hope the UK will harness, through collaboration, the electronic warfare, drone, and reconnaissance expertise that is developing on the ground in Ukraine to deliver what is needed at scale.

“The Chancellor spoke of the need for greater efficiency through innovation in public services and the same very much applies to Defence policy and the bodies that work closely with the [UK Ministry of Defence] to procure and manufacture battlefield-ready products.”

Balance between domestic production and Western aid

When asked about the balance between helping Ukraine produce systems domestically and the continued support from the West that the UK Budget has reinforced, Dovbenko told Army Technology:

“What is most important is that even with the greatest focus on developing [systems] inside Ukraine, which is very important, it’s also important to develop and protect” production sites from being targetted by Russian strikes.

“The money is still the key here because if you don’t have Western support, if you don’t have money, you will not be able to sustainably produce anything in the amount required. So usually you should have both.”

More insight from this interview will be published in due course.