Boris gets to grips with machine guns as he preps troops to take on Putin's forces

23 July 2022, 13:12 | Updated: 23 July 2022, 13:55

The PM visited Ukrainian troops in training
The PM visited Ukrainian troops in training. Picture: Downing Street/Twitter

By Will Taylor

Boris Johnson has been filmed hurling grenades, manning a machine gun and inspecting a missile launcher.

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This was not some last ditch bid to dig in at Downing Street though – the Prime Minister was enjoying his notice period in North Yorkshire, where 400 Ukrainian troops are being trained to take the fight to Vladimir Putin's invaders.

British forces hope to train some 10,000 of them over the summer and into autumn to give President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's forces a better chance at stopping the Russians.

In a clip released to his official account, he is seen taking aim with a missile launcher. The UK has handed NLAWS to Ukraine which have been key to destroying Russian tanks and vehicles.

A determined-looking Mr Johnson - who quipped previously he may be more popular on the streets of Kyiv than Kensington - hurls a training grenade at his foes and follows a formation of troops into a house as they practise close quarters fighting.

Wearing camouflage, Mr Johnson tells the Ukrainians in the clip: "I just want you to know that the people of the United Kingdom support the people of Ukraine and support you in your fight.

"And I am absolutely convinced that you can win and that you will win."

He tells the camera: "I've been meeting some of the 400 Ukrainian troops who are here being trained by our forces, getting ready to go and fight in Ukraine and that's part of a huge commitment we've made to train Ukrainian forces.

Read more: 'Hasta la vista, baby': Boris leaves final PMQs to tears, cheers and jeers

"We want to train about 10,000 of them over the next four months.

"That comes on top of the investment we're making in supporting Ukrainians with weaponry, 6,900 anti-tank weapons, 120 armoured vehicles and much, much else besides, including now the multiple launch rocket systems that together the Americans, Germans and others we're providing really are starting to make a difference, we hope, to the course of that war - starting to push back Putin's evil attack on Ukraine.

Boris Johnson appeared thrilled in his visit to troops in North Yorkshire
Boris Johnson appeared thrilled in his visit to troops in North Yorkshire. Picture: Downing Street/Twitter

"I know that in the end the Ukrainian people are going to succeed, I know that the Ukrainian forces are going to succeed.

"I'm very proud of the role that the UK has been able to play so far.

"But in the end this is thanks to the bravery and the heroism of these Ukrainian troops."

Read more: Ukraine and Russia sign 'life-saving' deal paving way to restart grain exports

Mr Johnson's remarks come as Ukrainians take the fight to Russia in the Kherson region in the south of the country.

Britain's Ministry of Defence said an offensive that has taken place in the last 48 hours has seen heavy fighting break out.

Russia has been trying to slow the advance with artillery fire but its supply lines are at risk.

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