Boris Johnson travels to Ukraine for talks with Zelensky

Boris Johnson travels to Ukraine for talks with Zelensky

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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people,” British and Ukrainian officials said.

Driving the news: Johnson pledged new military assistance to Ukraine, including about 120 armored vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems, and guaranteed an additional $500 million in World Bank lending to Ukraine, per his office.

  • We’re setting out a new package of financial & military aid which is a testament of our commitment to his country’s struggle against Russia’s barbaric campaign,” Johnson wrote in a tweet after his meeting with Zelensky.
  • Zelensky and Johnson also walked through the center of Kyiv on Saturday, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense.

What they’re saying: “Boris was among those who did not hesitate for a moment whether to support Ukraine,” Zelensky said in his nightly address Saturday, according to an official transcript posted in English.

  • “The leadership of the United Kingdom in providing our country with the necessary assistance, especially in terms of defense, as well as the leadership in sanctions policy will remain forever in history. … Ukraine will always be grateful to Boris and Britain for this,” Zelensky added.

Meanwhile, Johnson praised Zelensky for showing “resolute leadership and the invincible heroism and courage of the Ukrainian people that Putin’s monstrous aims are being thwarted,” per the U.K. prime minister’s office.

  • “I made clear today that the United Kingdom stands unwaveringly with them in this ongoing fight, and we are in it for the long run,” he continued.
  • “We are stepping up our own military and economic support and convening a global alliance to bring this tragedy to an end, and ensure Ukraine survives and thrives as a free and sovereign nation,” Johnson added.

State of play: In a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday, Johnson announced new sanctions against the Russian economy and condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “barbaric onslaught against Ukraine.”

  • Johnson, who has been outspoken in his condemnation of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, called the Russian missile attack on a train station in the city of Kramatorsk a “war crime.”
  • “The attack at the train station in eastern Ukraine shows the depths to which Putin’s vaunted army has sunk … Russia’s crimes in Ukraine will not go unnoticed or unpunished,” Johnson said on Friday.

What watch: In his address, Zelensky appealed for more weapons for Ukraine and further sanctions on Russia and a complete embargo on Russian energy products.

Go deeper … Dashboard: Russian invasion of Ukraine

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comment from Zelensky.

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