British PM Johnson meets Ukraine's Zelensky on ‘surprise’ visit to Kyiv

Updated on Apr 09, 2022 10:05 PM IST

A Downing Street spokesperson said that Johnson travelled to Ukraine to meet Zelenskyy in person in a “show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people”, according to Bloomberg.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 9, 2022. (Twitter/Embassy of Ukraine to the UK)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 9, 2022. (Twitter/Embassy of Ukraine to the UK)
Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar, New Delhi

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday on an unannounced trip to the war-torn east-European country. Johnson's visit was confirmed after the embassy of Ukraine in the UK tweeted the two leaders meeting in person for the first time since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24. Additionally, Zelenskyy's deputy chief of staff, Andriy Sybiha, also confirmed their meeting in a post on Facebook.

A Downing Street spokesperson said that Johnson travelled to Ukraine to meet Zelenskyy in person in a “show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people”, according to Bloomberg.

The British PM discussed providing the strife-torn country with more financial and military aid, his office said.

Johnson's visit comes a day after the European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen travelled to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. She also visited Bucha town where at least 20 bodies of people in civilian clothes, claimed to have been executed by retreating Russian troops by Ukraine, were discovered last week along with hundreds of mass graves.

Leyen and Johnson's visit also come after the West, including the US and even Japan, slapped a slew of added sanctions against Russia, including a ban on Russian coal imports and measures against President Vladimir Putin's two adult daughters. The sanctions followed after the revelation of the Bucha killings, which Ukraine and the West have amounted to war crimes.

The UK on Friday announced an additional military package amounting to 100 million Euros for Ukraine. According to a Downing Street statement shared on Twitter, the aid includes more than 800 NLAW anti-tank missiles, additional javelin anti-tank systems, additional star streak air defence systems, and non-lethal aid such as ballistic helmets, night-vision goggles and body armour.

Zelenksyy, meanwhile, said earlier today that Ukraine was “still ready” to continue peace talks with Russia, which have halted since the discovery of the Bucha killings.

“Ukraine has always said it is ready for negotiations and looking for any way to stop this war,” the Ukrainian President said at a press conference with the Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who visited Bucha.

The last face-to-face talks between Kyiv and Moscow negotiators were held in the Turkish city of Istanbul on March 29. Although the event failed to bring about a ceasefire in Ukraine, Russia had agreed to substantially scale back its operations from around Kyiv and Chernihiv.

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