Boris travelling to Ukraine for talks with President Zelenskyy

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the Ukraine President Zelensky when they agreed to intensify the bilateral relationship between the UK and Ukraine in 2020. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

The Prime Minster will travel to Ukraine today (Tuesday) for talks with President Zelenskyy as tensions on the country’s border with Russia continue to rise.

Over 100,000 Russian troops are currently amassed on Ukraine’s doorstep and President Putin has made repeated demands to restrict Ukraine’s right to pursue NATO membership and self-defence.

The UK has long been a staunch supporter of Ukrainian sovereignty. Since 2015, British Armed Forces have trained over 22,000 Ukrainian troops to defend themselves. The Prime Minister’s discussions with President Zelenskyy today will cover the full range of strategic UK support to Ukraine.

The UK is actively involved in defending rule of law in Ukraine and clamping down on corruption, steps which have strengthened the country’s ability to resist malign and anti-democratic influences.

£88 million of new funding, including from the UK’s Good Governance Fund, announced today will bolster that work and aid efforts to reduce Ukraine’s reliance on Russian energy supplies.

The Prime Minister has stressed, including directly to President Putin, the UK’s enduring and unwavering support for Ukrainian sovereignty. Further Russian incursion would have a stark humanitarian cost and the UK continues to encourage Russia to engage fully in discussions with NATO.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

It is the right of every Ukrainian to determine how they are governed. As a friend and a democratic partner, the UK will continue to uphold Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of those who seek to destroy it.

We urge Russia to step back and engage in dialogue to find a diplomatic resolution and avoid further bloodshed.

The Prime Minister previously welcomed President Zelenskyy to Downing Street in October 2020 where they agreed to intensify the bilateral relationship between the UK and Ukraine in areas including defence, trade and political cooperation. As part of this meeting they launched an ongoing Strategic Dialogue which this visit continues.

The leaders last spoke on 13th January when they agreed to continue to work closely alongside international partners to deter Russian aggression.

On Monday the Foreign Secretary announced an unprecedented strengthening of the UK’s sanctions regime which will give the UK the power to target any company that is linked to the Russian state, engages in business of economic significance to the Russian state, or operates in a sector of strategic significance to the Russian state.

Following instruction by the Prime Minister, the UK is in discussions with NATO about what support can be offered to support NATO’s Eastern Flank.

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