Britain offers Kyiv major training operation with potential to train up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an unannounced second visit to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Friday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
He was due to speak at a political event in the north of England, but pulled out at the last minute.
This is Johnson’s second visit to Ukraine since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war on Feb. 24, following his trip in April.
Johnson tweeted about his visit on Friday, saying: “Mr President, Volodymyr, it is good to be in Kyiv again.”
A Downing Street statement said Britain “offered to launch a major training operation for Ukrainian forces, with the potential to train up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days.”
Johnson said: “My visit today, in the depths of this war, is to send a clear and simple message to the Ukrainian people: the UK is with you, and we will be with you until you ultimately prevail.
“As Ukrainian soldiers fire UK missiles in defense of your nation’s sovereignty, they do so also in defense of the very freedoms we take for granted.”
The UK premier said he “offered President Zelenskyy a major new military training program that could change the equation of this war – harnessing that most powerful of forces, the Ukrainian determination to win.”
“Two months on from my last visit, the Ukrainian grit, determination and resilience is stronger than ever, and I know that unbreakable resolve will long outlive the vain ambitions of (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin,” Johnson said.
– ‘Russia must pay highest price for war’
Speaking at a joint press conference with Johnson, Zelenskyy said Russian forces were targeting ordinary Ukrainian people and civilian infrastructure.
“Russians are hitting houses, schools, hospitals, universities, transport. Defensive support against Russian missiles should be a priority for our partners, all of us,” he said.
Reinforcing Ukraine’s air defenses is imperative, said Zelenskyy, adding that there was progress toward that end during discussions with Johnson.
He reiterated the need for more and harsher sanctions on Russia.
“Russia must pay the highest price for the war,” he emphasized, adding that Moscow should also be compelled to compensate Ukraine for the damage and destruction it has caused in the country.
He blamed Russia for the emerging global food crisis, saying its blockade of Ukrainian ports is causing a food shortage in the world.
The problem, he stressed, has only been caused by Russian aggression.
Zelenskyy also reaffirmed Ukraine’s commitment to defeat Russia.
“I have no doubt we will win the war,” he said.