Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visiting Estonia Monday

Rishi Sunak.
Rishi Sunak. Source: SCANPIX/PA Wire/PA Images/James Manning

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is on an official visit to Estonia Monday.

Sunak is traveling from Riga, where he is attending a Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) meeting, and is in Estonia for one day, meeting with his opposite number Kaja Kallas and visiting Tapa base, home of the U.K.-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup.

U.K. daily The Guardian reports the visit in the context of the changed security situation, with Sunak saying ahead of the meeting that: "From the Arctic Circle to the Isle of Wight, the U.K. and our European allies have been in lockstep in our response to the invasion of Ukraine, and we remain steadfast in our ambition for peace in Europe once again."

"But to achieve peace, we must deter aggression and our deployments across the region together are vital in ensuring we are able to respond to the gravest of threats. I know this JEF summit will only underline our close friendships and unwavering support for Ukraine," Sunak went on, according to The Guardian.

Sunak is likely to reassert commitments to supporting Ukraine, the first foreign country he visited officially after becoming British premier in October, in the face of Russian aggression and to encourage other allied leaders to do the same; the UK is to supply Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition as part of a military aid package of £250 million (€287 million).

The BBC reports that Sunak, a former banker, recently requested a data-driven assessment on the war's progress and Britain's contribution to the Ukrainian effort, which, the BBC reports.

This has prompted fears with some in Whitehall that Sunak is taking a more cautious approach than suits to what has been described as a key phase in the conflict.

Downing Street rejects this claim.

The UK has been one of the most significant suppliers of military aid to Ukraine since February's invasion.

The JEF meeting in Riga will be addressed by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and will discuss intelligence sharing between member states, threats to infrastructure and hybrid threats posed by Russian aggression, The Guardian reports.

Further support for Finland and Sweden's planned NATO accessions, and announcements on joint military exercises, are also likely to emerge from the meeting.

Rishi Sunak, 42, replaced Liz Truss as prime minister and Conservative Party leader in October.

The JEF is British-led and is mainly focused on maritime defense of the Baltic and North Atlantic.

Member states including the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, as well as Britain and Estonia.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Guardian, BBC

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