U.k. Pm’s Surprise Visit to Kiev Results in Additional Military Aid Pledges to Ukraine!

Downing Street confirmed Saturday that the UK will supply 120 armoured vehicles and modern anti-ship missile systems to Ukraine after Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in person.

On Saturday, Johnson and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer paid separate visits to Zelensky, the latest in a long line of politicians to visit the country during Russia’s invasion.

Johnson was sat across from Zelensky at a table in a pink and green stuccoed chamber, according to a photo tweeted by Ukraine’s embassy in the UK. The caption on the photo was “Surprise” with a winking face emoji.

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine’s Press Service revealed on its official Twitter account that the two leaders had met in Kyiv and posted many photos of the pair’s previously undisclosed encounter.

Johnson announced a new package of financial and military help to Ukraine on Twitter, calling his travel to Kyiv “a display of our unshakeable support for the people of Ukraine.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky left and greets British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Kyiv in this photo released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office.

“Ukraine has overcome the odds and forced Russian forces back from Kyiv’s borders, performing the greatest feat of arms of the twenty-first century,” UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated in a statement.

He commended Zelensky’s “resolute leadership” as well as the “invincible valour and fortitude” of the Ukrainian people, saying the UK “stands unwaveringly with them in this continuous fight… we are in it for the long haul.”

U.k. Pm's Surprise Visit

Zelensky thanked the UK and Johnson later in his nightly message, which he shared on social media.

“Boris was one of the few who didn’t have a second question about supporting Ukraine. The leadership of the United Kingdom in giving defence assistance to our country, as well as leadership in sanctions policy, will go down in history.

“Ukraine will be eternally thankful to Boris and the United Kingdom for this,” Zelensky stated.

Johnson stated during the news conference that the UK will continue to tighten sanctions against Russia. Johnson also claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions have caused him and the Russian government a “crushing blow.”

He went on to say, “We will influence Russia’s ability to use its energy resources.” “Because the battle decides Ukraine’s future vision,

our partners and I will provide Ukraine with equipment, technology, and information to ensure that Ukraine never has to experience the horrors of invasion and blackmail.”

Following the meeting, Downing Street declared that the UK government will give armoured vehicles and anti-ship missile systems, “on top of the £100 million worth of high-grade military weaponry” announced the day before.

According to Zelensky’s official Telegram channel, the meeting between Zelensky and Nehammer was different from the one with Johnson and took place earlier on Saturday.

While several European leaders have visited Ukraine in recent weeks, Nehammer’s visit is noteworthy due to his country’s constitutionally protected neutrality.

Austria is not a member of NATO and does not supply Ukraine with arms. According to a statement from the Austrian Chancellery, it has given Ukraine humanitarian aid as well as helmets and protective vests for civilian usage.

“We recognise we have to help where injustice and war crimes occur,” Nehammer said on Saturday, despite his country’s military neutrality.

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No hammer was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko before returning to Austria on Saturday evening, according to his office.

No hammer was also scheduled to visit Bucha, a Kyiv neighbourhood that had been subjected to near-constant firefights for five weeks;

after Russian soldiers retreated, the bodies of at least 20 civilians were discovered lying in one street, some with their wrists tied.
Bucha was “a place of war crimes,” according to Nehammer.

During a press conference alongside Zelensky, he remarked, “We have to make those war crimes known to the UN, and international justice must begin investigating and fighting these crimes.”

Johnson and Nehammer’s travels came just one day after top European Union officials visited Ukraine. On Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, along with Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger, paid visits to Kyiv and Bucha.

During the visit, von der Leyen presented Zelensky with an EU questionnaire to fill out, a symbolic but significant step toward Ukraine’s EU membership.

“We will accelerate this process as far as we can while ensuring that all requirements are respected,” von der Leyen said in a tweet regarding the move.

Last month, the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovenia paid a visit to Kyiv, which was still being targeted by Russian strikes.

That journey, like Johnson’s on Saturday, was kept a secret until the three leaders arrived in the country by train from eastern Ukraine.