Rishi Sunak pledges £50 million military aid to Ukraine as he meets Volodymyr Zelensky on first trip to Kyiv

19 November 2022, 14:38 | Updated: 19 November 2022, 14:48

Rishi Sunak met Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday
Rishi Sunak met Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday. Picture: Office of the President of Ukraine

By Kit Heren

Rishi Sunak has promised that the UK will keep supporting Ukraine on his first visit to the country since taking office in October, and promised tens of millions more in military support in the war with Russia.

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PM Mr Sunak pledged that UK support for Ukraine in the fight against Russia will remain steadfast, following in the footsteps of predecessors Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, and promised Ukraine a £50 million package of defence aid during his visit to Kyiv.

Mr Sunak said: "Britain knows what it means to fight for freedom. We are with you all the way."

A Number 10 spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister is in Ukraine today for his first visit to Kyiv to meet President Zelensky and confirm continued UK support."

The {rime Minister, who has spoken to Mr Zelensky on more than one occasion since entering Downing Street, used his appearance at the G20 this week to join with allies and other Western leaders to condemn Vladimir Putin's invasion.

Mr Sunak said it was "deeply humbling" to be in Kyiv.

"I am proud of how the UK stood with Ukraine from the very beginning. And I am here today to say the UK and our allies will continue to stand with Ukraine, as it fights to end this barbarous war and deliver a just peace.

"While Ukraine's armed forces succeed in pushing back Russian forces on the ground, civilians are being brutally bombarded from the air. We are today providing new air defence, including anti-aircraft guns, radar and anti-drone equipment, and stepping up humanitarian support for the cold, hard winter ahead.

Mr Zelensky wrote on Telegram: "We discussed the most important issues both for our countries and for global security," Mr Zelensky wrote on Telegram following the meeting.

"We are stronger and we will achieve the desired results," he added.

Mr Sunak and Mr Zelensky met on Saturday
Mr Sunak and Mr Zelensky met on Saturday. Picture: Office of the president of Ukraine

A video of the meeting, posted by Mr Sunak's Twitter account, shows him shaking hands with the Ukrainian leader in a snowy Kyiv.

"Welcome. How are you?" Mr Zelensky asks the Prime Minister.

"Really good to see you," Mr Sunak says as Mr Zelensky gestures at the falling snow.

The pair are shown shaking hands in front of the Union flag and Ukraine's flag, with the pair also shown holding a one-to-one meeting.

The visit comes after a missile hit a Polish village close to the Ukrainian border, initially sparking concerns Russia had struck a Nato member state.

Some of the tensions have been eased by the likely attribution of the hit to Ukrainian defence forces.