UK to increase defense spending by $6 billion, citing threats from Russia and China

Kathleen Magramo and Hilary Whiteman

The United Kingdom will ramp up defense spending by $6 billion to “fortify” against growing threats from Russia and China, the country’s leader announced on the eve of highly anticipated talks with AUKUS partners, the United States and Australia.

In a statement released Sunday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to use the extra spending, spread over two years, to replenish ammunition stocks, modernize the UK’s nuclear submarine program and fund the “next phase” of AUKUS, a security pact struck between the three nations in 2021.

Details of the AUKUS program are set to be revealed Monday in San Diego during a joint news conference between Sunak, US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

“Hostile power” threats: Britain named China, along with Russia, as the driving force behind the need for higher defense spending.

The increase of $6 billion dollars (£5 billion) is the outcome of “Integrated Review Refresh,” an update to a report first published in 2021 about the UK’s foreign, defense and security spending, revised to take into account new threats.

“We have seen all too clearly in the last year how global crises impact us at home, with Russia’s appalling invasion of Ukraine driving up energy and food prices. We will fortify our national defences, from economic security to technology supply chains and intelligence expertise, to ensure we are never again vulnerable to the actions of a hostile power,” Sunak said in the statement.

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