News from Ukraine: Boris Johnson meets Zelensky in war-torn country | World | News

Boris Johnson ‘skeptical’ of nations ‘negotiating’ with Putin

Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelensky were pictured holding a meeting in Kyiv to discuss Russia’s invasion of the country which began in February. An image of the couple was shared by the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK.

The photograph shows the men sitting opposite each other amid the crisis talks, in the country’s capital, with their respective flags in the room.

Details of the visit had not been shared publicly before the image was posted.

The surprise meeting between the two men was announced by Ukrainian officials and has since been confirmed by Downing Street.

The photo was captioned with the word “surprise” next to a winking emoji.

‘Surprise!’ Boris meets Zelensky in Kyiv as PM shows UK ‘solidarity’ with Ukraine (Image: Embassy of Ukraine in the UK)

Olaf Scholz and Boris Johnson

On Friday, the Prime Minister held a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Image: Getty)

The example makes the prime minister the first G7 leader to arrive in Ukraine.

The Prime Minister’s visit to meet his Ukrainian counterpart is particularly significant given the support Britain has given the country since Putin’s invasion began.

Mr Johnson’s visit is intended as a show of “solidarity” with the war-affected people of Ukraine, according to a spokesman.

Prime Minister and President Zelensky reportedly discussed how to defend Ukraine against Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister presented new military assistance of 120 armored vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems, to support Ukraine as Russia’s assault on the country continues.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said of the visit: “The Prime Minister traveled to Ukraine to meet President Zelensky in person, as a sign of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. They will discuss the long-term support of the UK to Ukraine and the Prime Minister will present a new financial and military aid package.

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Boris Johnson and Olaf Scholz

On Friday, Mr Johnson pledged to send £100million worth of high-quality military weapons to Ukraine (Image: Getty)

Mr Johnson said of his visit: “It is a privilege to be able to travel to Ukraine and meet President Zelensky in person in Kyiv today. Ukraine defied odds and pushed Russian forces back from the gates of kyiv, achieving the greatest feat of arms of the 21st century.

“It is thanks to the resolute leadership of President Zelensky and the invincible heroism and courage of the Ukrainian people that Putin’s monstrous aims are thwarted.

“I have made it clear today that the UK stands steadfast with them in this ongoing fight, and we are in it for the long haul.

“We are strengthening our own military and economic support and convening a global alliance to end this tragedy and ensure Ukraine’s survival and prosperity as a free and sovereign nation.”

The photo was also shared on Facebook by presidential aide Andriy Sybiha, captioned: ‘Boris Johnson’s visit to Kyiv started earlier with a one-on-one meeting with President Zelensky.

Mr Sybiha described Mr Johnson as “the leader of the anti-war coalition. The leader of sanctions against the Russian aggressor”.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, congratulated Mr Johnson on his visit.

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He said, “I’m glad he’s gone. It is important to stand with our Ukrainian allies at this time and show that we are planning for the future.

Stuart Anderson, a former soldier who served with the Royal Green Jackets and is now the Tory MP for Wolverhampton South West, was delighted to see the Prime Minister alongside Zelensky.

He said, “I think this show is one of the greatest sites I’ve seen in a long time. You have the hero Zelensky and [his close friend Boris Johnson] watch how they tackle Putin’s tyranny. Standing side by side, our Prime Minister with the legend that is Zelensky, it doesn’t get better than this.”

Tobias Ellwood, a former Royal Green Jackets captain who now chairs the Defense Selection Committee, reacted to the Prime Minister’s arrival in Ukraine by pushing the UK to do more to liberate the country.

He said it was “our time to lead a coalition of the willing, to push past NATO’s self-imposed limits, and to help coach and arm Ukraine to victory.”

Illia Ponomarenko, defense reporter at the Kyiv Independent, welcomed Mr Johnson’s visit but hoped to see real results.

He wrote on Twitter: “Boris Johnson’s surprise visit to Kyiv is a strong and symbolic move. But it will become practical and historic if it results in Ukraine finally getting dozens of heavy weapons and air defense – as soon as possible.”

Zelensky

The Prime Minister met his Ukrainian counterpart in Kyiv on Saturday (Image: Getty)

Former security minister Sir John Hayes said the Prime Minister had demonstrated why he was the right person to lead the country at this time.

He said: “The Prime Minister led Europe in resisting Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. As he has done during the pandemic, he has shown why he is the right man to lead Britain.

“You have to dare to be brave, and we all know that Boris Johnson is not short of daring. Daring to be brave is the mark of good leaders and Boris Johnson has shown he is.”

The surprise meeting comes just a day after the Prime Minister held a Downing Street press conference on the war in Ukraine following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Mr Johnson has pledged to send £100million worth of high-quality military weapons to Ukraine.

The prime minister also confirmed further economic support, securing an additional $500m (£385m) loan from the World Bank to Ukraine.

This is on top of the £394million the UK has provided in grants and will help ensure the continued operation of vital humanitarian services for Ukrainians.

At the press conference, Mr Johnson also said the Europe we knew six weeks ago “no longer exists”.

Despite this, the Prime Minister added that Putin had “succeeded in uniting Europe and the entire transatlantic alliance in support of Ukraine and in solidarity with each other”.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola also visited Kyiv earlier this month.

Christi C. Elwood