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Britain's Johnson pledges more sanctions and arms during surprise visit to Kyiv


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday (April 9) in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, "in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people," a Downing Street spokesperson said.

Johnson's visit had begun with a one-on-one meeting with Zelenskiy, Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of the Ukraine president's office, said on Facebook.

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.

The British leader used the visit to set out a new financial and military aid package for Ukraine.

Earlier, his Downing Street office said Britain would provide the country with 120 armoured vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems.

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 Zelenskiy to underline their close ties.

In a joint news conference with Zelenskiy Johnson, pledged tighter sanctions on Russia

At a meeting shrouded in secrecy until Johnson appeared in the Ukrainian capital, the two leaders cemented the close ties they have nurtured since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. 24.

"We have to exert even more pressure on the Russian Federation, to exert pressure through supporting Ukraine. In defending itself, we have to exert pressure in the form of sanctions, and I'm grateful to the United Kingdom that continuing and intensifying the sanctions and also providing significant support to Ukraine by reinforcing our defence capacities. The other democratic Western countries should follow the example of the United Kingdom," Zelenskiy said.

Johnson replied: "Together with our partners, we are going to ratchet up the economic pressure and we will continue to intensify, week by week, the sanctions on Russia."

He added that the measures would include moving away from the use of Russian hydrocarbons.

The Ukrainian leader said that his country was grateful for the decisive support from Britain, and said it was “time to impose a complete embargo on Russian energy resources.”

The support aims to ensure that "Ukraine can never be bullied again, never will be blackmailed again, never will be threatened in the same way again," Johnson said.

During the visit, Johnson walked with Zelenskiy in the city’s streets.

“You have a remarkable president, Mr Zelenskiy, who has done an outstanding job and we simply wish to keep supporting the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes,” said Johnson to a man who thanked him as he walked around Kyiv.

Published : April 10, 2022

By : Reuters