Impact of the conflict in Ukraine: UK defence and the integrated review

Since the beginning of the 2022 Russian attack on Ukraine, there have been calls for the government to reconsider the policies outlined in its 2021 integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy. On 9 June 2022, the House of Lords will debate the impact of the conflict in Ukraine, including its effect on the UK’s defence and foreign policy. This briefing looks at what the implications of the conflict might be on the UK’s strategic priorities as set out in the integrated review.

Impact of the conflict in Ukraine: UK defence and the integrated review

International Agreements Committee report on improving the framework for the parliamentary scrutiny of treaties

In September 2021, the House of Lords International Agreements Committee published a report on its experiences scrutinising agreements under the current statutory framework for treaty scrutiny. Among its recommendations, the committee called for government commitments on scrutiny working practices made since April 2020 to be consolidated in a formal concordat. The committee also asked the government to commit to giving it more notice of both treaties set to be laid before Parliament and significant other agreements.

International Agreements Committee report on improving the framework for the parliamentary scrutiny of treaties
  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Foreign affairs, defence, and international development

    This year’s Queen’s Speech takes place at a time of severe international tension, with Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine dominating the policy agenda. At the same time, conflict in Yemen continues, as do the ramifications of the Taliban’s recapture of Afghanistan. In defence policy, NATO’s role has come to the fore in the face of Russian aggression, while domestically the UK military continues to undergo significant reform. In international development, focus remains on the UK’s spend on overseas assistance and how it can help those caught up in those conflict zones and elsewhere.

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    Iran, negotiations on its nuclear capabilities, and its wider regional influence

    Negotiators are reportedly close to agreeing a new deal to prevent the further development of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. However, questions remain over how to address Iran’s destabilising regional activities, including its support for armed militant groups, leading many to question whether any deal should be broader in scope or seek to pave the way for addressing these concerns.

  • In Focus

    Ukrainian refugees

    Over 4 million refugees have left Ukraine since 24 February 2022, when Russia launched its current invasion of the country. At least a further 6.5 million people are displaced within Ukraine. The UK Government has launched family and sponsorship schemes to allow Ukrainians to seek refuge in the UK. However, critics have alleged that the processes involved are slow and causing frustration for both Ukrainian refugees and their sponsors.

  • In Focus

    Zimbabwe: conduct ahead of 26 March 2022 elections

    Elections for some parliamentary and local government seats in Zimbabwe took place on 26 March 2022. Journalists and members of the Citizens Coalition for Change opposition party accused members of the ruling party of political violence before the poll. Activists and the opposition also said that there were irregularities with the voting register.

  • In Focus

    Spring statement 2022: key announcements and analysis

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, presented the 2022 spring statement to the House of Commons on 23 March 2022. He said the measures in the statement would support the British people in dealing with rising costs of living. He announced some changes to the tax system and new spending commitments. Alongside the statement, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published revised forecasts for the economy and the public finances.

  • In Focus

    Ukraine sanctions and the Swift system

    There has been extended debate on whether Russia should be banned from the international Swift system as part of the package of economic sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine. On 26 February 2022, the international community announced that selected Russian banks would be barred. This article looks at what Swift is, why it is significant and whether a ban would be likely to achieve its intended effect of restricting the Russian economy.

  • In Focus

    UK support for democracy in Taiwan

    The Government has described Taiwan as a stable and vibrant democracy, and an important economic partner. However, in the context of the complex relationship between Taiwan and mainland China, the UK does not formally recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state. The Government has called for a peaceful resolution to tensions between Taiwan and mainland China through constructive dialogue by both sides.

  • In Focus

    Democracy under threat: a case for co-ordinated action?

    An ongoing decline in the global state of democracy has been identified by a number of recent reports, with restrictions introduced to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbating the issue. In December 2021, the United States held the ‘summit for democracy’ aimed at bolstering democracy. In the same month Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, called for democratic nations to form a “network of liberty” that spans the world.

  • In Focus

    AUKUS agreement to exchange naval nuclear propulsion information

    On 17 January 2022, the House of Lords is due to consider the agreement between the UK, Australia and the United States to exchange naval nuclear propulsion information. This article examines the details of the agreement. It also considers the international reaction to the formation between the three AUKUS security partnership countries.

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