President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine is currently on a visit to the UK, where he will hold a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Taking to Twitter, Zelensky referred to Sunak as his “friend” and expressed his anticipation for substantive negotiations.
The UK government recently announced its decision to provide Ukraine with the long-range missiles requested to combat the Russian invasion. Zelensky’s visit comes as part of his efforts to secure increased support for Ukraine from Western leaders.
During the meeting, Sunak emphasized their discussions would focus on exploring further ways to support Zelensky and Ukraine. Notably, Zelensky is the first foreign dignitary to have the privilege of meeting Sunak at Chequers, the prime minister’s official country residence.
President Zelensky took a moment during a brief press conference before the meeting to express heartfelt gratitude to the UK for its support since the invasion.
“We are thankful, from all our hearts, from Ukrainians, from our soldiers. We are thankful,” he emphasized. He further highlighted that urgent support for Ukraine would be among the key topics discussed.
Government officials have described the visit as a courtesy meeting and an opportunity to catch up, although acknowledging that there is always some business to be addressed.
Downing Street confirmed that the UK would announce the provision of “hundreds” of air defense missiles and drones to bolster Ukraine’s defense.
Prime Minister Sunak, during the meeting, will emphasize the significance of delivering a comprehensive support package to Ukraine. “We must not let them down,” stated the prime minister, underscoring the critical moment in Ukraine’s war effort.
He further emphasized that the repercussions of Putin’s aggressive actions extend beyond Ukraine and that it is in the interest of all to ensure Ukraine’s success and prevent rewarding Putin’s aggression.
The meeting between the two leaders is expected to last only a couple of hours. President Zelensky’s visit to the UK marks the fourth leg of his European tour, which included meetings in Paris, Berlin, and Rome.
Following productive discussions with Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Ukraine has successfully obtained a new defense aid package worth €2.7bn (£2.4bn) from Germany. President Zelensky expressed his gratitude, describing the provision of German Leopard tanks and anti-aircraft systems as the largest aid tranche since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale aggression in February 2022.
Subsequently, during President Zelensky’s visit to Paris, President Emmanuel Macron pledged dozens of additional light tanks and armored vehicles to further strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities.
In February, President Zelensky made his first visit to London since the war’s commencement, where he had an audience with the King and addressed the Parliament.
President Zelensky’s visit to the UK coincides with the upcoming G7 gathering in Hiroshima, Japan, later this week, which will also be attended by Chancellor Sunak.