Zelensky meets Sunak for talks as UK promises extra military aid for Ukraine

Zelensky meets Sunak for talks as UK promises extra military aid for Ukraine

The UK will provide Ukraine with air defence missiles and attack drones, Downing Street has announced, as Volodymyr Zelensky met Rishi Sunak at Chequers.

In the latest leg of the Ukrainian president’s tour of western allies, Mr Zelensky said the two leaders would have “substantive negotiations” on the response to Russia’s invasion.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister would welcome Mr Zelensky to the country retreat in Buckinghamshire as the UK continues “sustaining our support” for the war-torn country.

Mr Zelensky is the first world leader Mr Sunak has hosted at his grace-and-favour country residence.

It follows meetings in Paris, Berlin and Rome and comes three months after Mr Zelensky’s first trip to London since the start of the war.

The Ukrainian leader attended an audience with the King and addressed Parliament in February.

Mr Sunak said: “This is a crucial moment in Ukraine’s resistance to a terrible war of aggression they did not choose or provoke.

“They need the sustained support of the international community to defend against the barrage of unrelenting and indiscriminate attacks that have been their daily reality for over a year.

“We must not let them down. The frontlines of (Russian president Vladimir) Putin’s war of aggression may be in Ukraine but the fault lines stretch all over the world. It is in all our interest to ensure Ukraine succeeds and Putin’s barbarism is not rewarded.

“That is why the UK is sustaining our support to Ukraine – from tanks to training, ammunition to armoured vehicles. And this message of solidarity will ring loud in all my meetings with fellow world leaders in the days ahead.”

At the start of the meeting, Mr Zelensky thanked the UK Government, the King and the British people for their support.

“We are thankful from all our hearts, from Ukrainians, from our soldiers, we are thankful,” he said.

The president said his talks with the Prime Minister would cover “very important issues, urgent support for Ukraine”.

The crisis was a matter of “security not only for Ukraine, it is important for all of Europe”.

The visit comes days after Liverpool hosted Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine.

The latest package of military assistance will see hundreds of air defence missiles and further unmanned aerial systems including long-range attack drones with a range of more than 200 kilometres (124 miles).

The new equipment will be delivered over the coming months.

The UK has also recently promised long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Kyiv after continued Russian attacks.

The meeting between the two leaders comes at the start of a week of intense diplomatic activity on the Ukraine crisis.

Mr Sunak will attend a Council of Europe summit in Iceland – with Mr Zelensky joining virtually – before heading to Japan for the G7 gathering in Hiroshima.

Published: by Radio NewsHub