British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Saturday made his first visit to Ukraine since taking office, visiting the capital to announce a major new UK-provided anti-air defense package while meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Crucially Sunak vowed that the UK will support Ukraine until it has “won”. He told a news conference alongside Zelensky, “I am here today to say that the U.K. will continue to stand with you… until Ukraine has won the peace and security it needs and deserves.”
“It is deeply humbling to be with you in your country today. The courage of the Ukrainian people is an inspiration to the world,” Sunak added.
The prime minister said the new package is worth £50 million ($60 million) and includes “125 anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter deadly Iranian-supplied drones, including dozens of radars and anti-drone electronic warfare capability.”
Earlier last week British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace unveiled that 1,000 new air-defense missiles will be sent to Ukrainian forces. It’s expected that the West will continue focusing on sending advanced anti-air missiles given Russia has lately ramped up large-scale air attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
Like Boris Johnson before him, Sunak heaped enthusiastic praise on his Ukrainian counterpart. “In years to come we’ll tell our grandchildren of your story, how proud and sovereign people stood up in the face of an appalling onslaught, how you fought, how you sacrificed, how you prevailed,” said Sunak.
Zelensky said that during the visit the two discussed “European and Ukrainian energy security” as well as contiued defense cooperation. Zelensky later said on Twitter, “With friends like you by our side, we are confident in our victory.”
This comes amid reports that Moscow offered the possibility of a “short truce” – which Zelensky said he has rejected. Ukraine is meanwhile celebrating its retaking of Kherson after a largescale Russian withdrawal there amid the Ukraine counteroffensive.
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