Johnson announced that the UK would send $130 million in ‘high-grade military equipment to Ukraine’s armed forces.
Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, paid a visit to Kyiv on Saturday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky in a show of solidarity with Ukraine in the face of what he called “Russia’s barbaric campaign.”
Johnson is the latest European leader to visit Kyiv this weekend, following the discovery of civilian bodies in towns from which the Russian army had just retreated a week ago.
“Today, I met with my friend President Zelensky in Kyiv to demonstrate our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine,” Johnson tweeted.
Zelensky shared photos of himself welcoming the UK leader to Kyiv, which had been under attack by Russian forces until recently.
Johnson was dressed in a dark suit, while Zelensky was dressed in khaki overalls, which have become his go-to outfit for public appearances since Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February.
“Welcome to Kyiv, my friend,” Zelensky said in a Telegram message.
The Ukrainian president is known to have a warm relationship with Johnson, whom he admires.
Andriy Yermak, being his chief of staff, had also described Johnson as being one of Ukraine’s “true friends.”
On the other hand Yermak also said on Twitter “Zelensky has been in contact with him since the beginning of the Russian aggression,”.
“Thank you, Boris Johnson, for taking a decisive stance and assisting Ukraine in its hour of need. Thank you for all of the assistance and weapons that the United Kingdom has provided us, “He continued.
Johnson’s visit to Ukraine was not announced ahead of time by London, with the prime minister himself dismissing questions about a possible visit at a news conference on Friday.
At the same event, Johnson announced that the UK would send Ukraine’s armed forces “high-grade military equipment” worth £100 million ($130 million, 120 million euros).
Today I met my friend President @ZelenskyyUa in Kyiv as a show of our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 9, 2022
We're setting out a new package of financial & military aid which is a testament of our commitment to his country's struggle against Russia’s barbaric campaign. pic.twitter.com/KNY0Nm6NQ3
According to Johnson, the package would include Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, 800 anti-tank missiles, and precision munitions.
Johnson’s visit to Kyiv follows visits to the Ukrainian capital by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday, as well as Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer earlier on Saturday.
As per the thinking of Johnson, Russian President Vladimir Putin has committed various war crimes and will “intensify the pressure in Donbas and in the east” as his forces falter. The prime minister described the need for assistance to Ukraine as “critical.”
“We’re going to ratchet up the economic pressure with our partners, and we’re going to continue to intensify sanctions on Russia week by week,” Johnson said. He also promised assistance with defense systems, such as demining the country.
During his visit, Johnson said he saw a lot of the “beautiful” country of Ukraine.
“But, having only been here in Kyiv for a few hours… I have no doubt that an independent, sovereign Ukraine will rise again, thanks, above all, to the heroism, courage, and determination of the Ukrainian people,” he said.