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UK PM Boris Johnson in surprise visit to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has become the highest profile world leader yet to pay an on-the-ground visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a surprise visit to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

While a handful of other leaders have visited Kyiv since Russia invaded, Mr Johnson’s trip marks one of the highest profile face-to-face meetings with Zelensky. He is the first leader of the Group of 7 (G7) most industrialised nations to meet Ukraine’s president in person during the war.

Notably US President Joe Biden did not set foot in Ukrainian territory when he held talks in Europe two weeks ago. Although, at that point, Russian forces were still attempting to take Ukraine’s capital.

The UK PM visited Kyiv on Saturday for talks with Mr Zelensky as part of a “show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people”, Downing Street 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,” a spokesman said.

An aide to Mr Zelensky, Andriy Sybiha, posted a photograph of the leaders sitting opposite each other in a meeting room with the curtains closed.

While Mr Johnson was wearing a suit, Mr Zelensky donned khaki garb, his signature outfit for public appearances since Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February.

“The UK is the leader in the defence support of Ukraine,” Mr Sybiha wrote.

He described Mr Johnson as “the leader of the anti-war coalition. The leader of sanctions on the Russian aggressor”.

The UK has announced £100m ($A175m) of weapons for Ukraine in the aftermath of the bombing of Kramatorsk railway station that killed around 50. Britain will also send more anti-aircraft missiles and antitank missiles.

London did not announce Mr Johnson’s Ukraine visit ahead of time, with the Prime Minister himself batting away questions about a possible visit in a press conference on Friday.

His trip to the Ukrainian capital followed visits to Kyiv of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday and the visit of the Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer earlier on Saturday. The leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia have also travelled to Kyiv in recent weeks.

The European visits come after Ukraine rebuffed Russian troops from the Kyiv region late last month



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