UK Culture Minister Claims More Arms to Ukraine Will Cut Energy Bills
The UK's embargo on energy imports has helped send the price of oil and natural gas soaring, with a knock-on effect on the broader inflation rate, now at 10 percent. Businesses face a harsh winter, with almost three-quarters of British pubs saying they will have to shut their doors.
A British cabinet minister has claimed the government's pledge of £2.3 billion in military aid to Ukraine next year will cut soaring energy bills at home.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Secretary Michelle Donelan told Sky News' Kay Burley on Tuesday morning that arming President Volodymyr Zelensky's regime was key to reducing "dependence" on Russian energy exports.
"We believe it is fundamentally important that we're standing up for democracy, that we're continuing to protect Ukraine in their fight, that we're standing up for the rest of the world who needs to end their global dependence on Russia, which is one of the factors behind the increasing price in fuel," Donelan said.
"So this is actually going to help the cost of living of people, not just in the UK, but across the globe as well," the cabinet minister claimed. "And we hope that other countries will see what we're doing and follow our example."
Western sanctions on Russia, including the UK's embargo on energy imports, have backfired, helping send the price of oil and natural gas soaring to levels five or six times those at the start of 2021. That has had a knock-on effect on the prices of other goods, with general inflation hitting 10 percent.
Household bills have more than doubled as regulator Ofgem has raised its price cap. Businesses, which are not protected by that limit, face a harsh winter, with almost three-quarters of British pubs surveyed saying they expect to have to shut their doors.
Donelan could not clarify how new Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng would fund the latest splurge on arms, saying only: "We will outline exactly where that money is coming from."
New Prime Minister Liz Truss has promised to reverse tax increases made by former chancellor Rishi Sunak — her rival in this summer's Conservative Party leadership election — to pay for the COVID-19 lockdown furlough scheme and to clear the resulting backlog of cases in the National Health Service (NHS).
The culture secretary rejected the notion that the inflationary crisis would undermine the government's backing for Kiev's war on the Donbass republics.
"We are not re-evaluating our support in Ukraine, we are doubling down on our support in Ukraine," Donelan insisted.
Authorities in the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples' Republics, which Russia launched its special military operation to defend, have repeatedly stressed that the West has knowingly been giving Ukrainian troops and neo-Nazi militias heavy artillery and other weapons used to kill civilians.
Ukrainian forces again shelled the centre of Donetsk city on Monday, killing 13 people at a bus stop and shop — including two children, according to Mayor Alexei Kulemzin.
Images from the scene showed human bodies torn to pieces. The DPR mission to the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) said nine shells, of the 155mm calibre fired specifically by NATO-standard howitzers such as the US M777, hit the site of the massacre.
Five more people were killed and six injured in the front-line city on Tuesday when shells hit a theatre where a memorial service was being held for a female officer in the Donetsk People's Militia.