British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK was working to give Ukraine “strategic endurance” on Friday (June 17) as he met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on his second trip to the Ukrainian capital since Russia’s invasion began.
He said that would include helping to intensify sanctions on Russia and to rally diplomatic support for Ukraine.
Speaking at a joint news conference during the surprise trip to Kyiv, Mr Johnson accused Russian forces or war crimes and illegal deportations which he described as a “hideous echo of the past”. Russia has denied war crimes are being committed in what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Johnson, who survived a no confidence vote earlier this month, was greeted by Zelenskiy as a “great friend” and posted a picture of himself with the Ukrainian president, with the words “Mr President, Volodymyr, It is good to be in Kyiv again”.
Johnson offered to launch a major training operation for Ukrainian forces, with the potential to train up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days at the meeting, his office said.
The two leaders also said they had discussed further military support for Ukraine and the possibility of yet tighter sanctions on Russia. President Zelenskiy also pushed the idea of Russian reparations for Ukraine.
The unannounced trip was Johnson’s latest show of support for Zelenskiy since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
It came a day after the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania travelled to Kyiv and endorsed Ukraine’s candidate status to join the European Union.