In show of support, British PM meets Ukraine's Zelenskyy in Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (left) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right). File Photo: Reuters

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, one of his staunchest backers, in Kyiv on Saturday, with the British leader using the visit to set out a new financial and military aid package for Ukraine.

Johnson is the latest foreign leader to visit Kyiv after Russian forces pulled back from the outskirts of the capital last week. The move caps weeks of lobbying by the British prime minister to meet Zelenskyy to underline their close ties.

Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of the Ukrainian president's office, said on Facebook that Johnson's visit had begun with a one-on-one meeting with Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy's office published pictures showing the two men chatting across a table.

Johnson met Zelenskyy "in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people", a Downing Street spokesperson said.

"They will discuss the UK's long-term support to Ukraine and the PM will set out a new package of financial and military aid," the spokesperson added.

On Zelenskyy's Telegram channel, Johnson was described as "one of the most principled opponents of the Russian invasion, a leader in putting sanctions on Russia and providing defensive support to Ukraine".

Johnson's visit to the Ukrainian capital was not announced in advance, and comes as Russia is amassing troops in the east of the country.

"The UK will send more defensive weapons to Ukraine and will work with G7 partners to target every pillar of the Russian economy to ensure Putin fails," Johnson tweeted earlier on Saturday.

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