Zelenskyy says UK’s close involvement is ‘highly valued’ as Boris continues to lead the West

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The Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy today (18 March) at 10 Downing Street. Picture by Tim Hammond / No 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this morning (18 March).

The Prime Minister reiterated his disgust at Russia’s barbaric actions in Ukraine and his admiration for the steadfast resistance of the Ukrainian people in the face of tyranny.

He said the entire United Kingdom stands with Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy updated Mr Johnson on the situation on the ground and Ukraine’s evolving military and humanitarian needs. The Prime Minister set out the additional defensive aid the UK intends to provide and committed to work with allies at next week’s NATO meeting to step up military support to Ukraine.

They also discussed progress in ongoing peace talks.

The Prime Minister offered his support for Ukraine’s position in negotiations and the President said the UK’s close involvement was highly valued.

According to intelligence sources, Vladimir Putin has “singled out” the UK as the global leader on sanctions imposed on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, the UK imposed asset freezes and travel bans on seven leading oligarchs and 386 members of the Russian Duma. The UK has also provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine totalling almost £400 million and provided defensive weapons, including more than 3,600 anti-tank missiles, and essential civilian supplies like generators and medicines.

According to US estimating some 30,000 Russian soldiers have now been killed or captured since the conflict began.

However, President Zelensky is still begging European leaders to send more weapons to help Ukrainians tirelessly defend their country as Russian forces continue to blast major cities.

The Ukrainian leader urged leaders of the Joint Expeditionary Force on Tuesday to “help yourself by helping us” by sending more equipment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted the Joint Expeditionary Force with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine joining via video link at Lancaster House. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street.

Zelensky said:

“We all are the targets of Russia and everything will go against Europe if Ukraine won’t stand, so I would like to ask you to help yourself by helping us.

“You know the weapons we need. You know what kind of defence measures we need. You know that our need is fighter jets and without your support it would be very difficult.

“‘We want you to help us and I would hope that you will be able to enhance that support and you will see how this will protect your security, your safety and how that will make a stable peace not only for us but for your countries.”

The Prime Minister has said this week the UK will continue to exert pressure at all levels to oppose Putin’s act of aggression, including through sanctions, lethal aid and diplomatic action.

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