'Ukraine's finest hour': Boris hails resistance against brutal Russian invasion

2 May 2022, 23:08 | Updated: 3 May 2022, 10:27

Boris has hailed Ukrainians in his speech to politicians
Boris has hailed Ukrainians in his speech to politicians. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Boris Johnson is set to hail the resistance of Ukrainians in the face of Russia's invasion as their "finest hour".

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Speaking in an address to the country's parliament, the Prime Minister will echo the words of Winston Churchill to the British people during World War II - as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did when he spoke to British MPs in March.

He will also set out details of a new £300 million package of military support for the government in Kyiv.

The renewed support will include electronic warfare equipment, a counter battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night vision devices, as Russia's offensive in the Donbas region continues.

On Mr Johnson's speech, Vadym Prystaiko, Ukrainian Ambassador to UK, told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: "The UK is helping us enormously, that is why all the MPs are gathering in the Parliament building although the city is being bombed by Russians regularly."

He added on the PM's relationship with Mr Zelenskyy: "This happened quite unexpectedly, they are different people, but there is some chemistry which appeared to be from the first meeting.

"It was quite good from the very beginning, we signed a free trade agreement and many, many other things, so it worked even then."

It follows the Mr Johnson's visit to Kyiv last month, in a bid to show support and solidarity with Mr Zelenskyy.

Read more: Shelling resumes in Mariupol after 100 women and children evacuated from steel plant

Read more: Russian TV threatens underwater Poseidon nuke could 'drown Britain in radioactive tsunami'

He will say: "When my country faced the threat of invasion during the Second World War, our Parliament, like yours, continued to meet throughout the conflict, and the British people showed such unity and resolve that we remember our time of greatest peril as our finest hour.

"This is Ukraine's finest hour, an epic chapter in your national story that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come.

"Your children and grandchildren will say that Ukrainians taught the world that the brute force of an aggressor counts for nothing against the moral force of a people determined to be free."

Boris Johnson will give an address to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Boris Johnson will give an address to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Picture: Alamy

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan told LBC it is "very significant" that Boris Johnson will be the first world leader to address the Ukrainian Parliament.

She told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast it reflects the "absolute commitment" the PM has given to supporting President Zelenskyy.

The Tory MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed said Mr Johnson and Zelenskyy - who has shown "incredible leadership" - have struck up a "very strong relationship".

She said we must do all we can to support Ukraine's fight, adding: "If we don't stand up for democracy and freedom, there is nothing."

It comes after ministers also updated Parliament last week on plans to send long-range Brimstone missiles and Stormer air defence vehicles.

Heavy lift aerial drones are also being supplied to provide logistical support to Ukrainian forces.

Downing Street said it is sending more than a dozen new specialised Toyota Land Cruisers too, in order to protect civilian officials in eastern Ukraine and evacuate civilians from frontline areas, following a request from the Ukrainian Government.

Meanwhile, Russian state media have warned the UK could be wiped off the map if Vladimir Putin were to launch a nuclear attack using an "underwater robot drone".

Dmitry Kiselyov - dubbed Putin's propagandist-in-chief - threatened on Russian TV that the Kremlin will attack Britain with a hypersonic missile, known as Satan II, and an "underwater robot drone", known as Poseidon.

He said: "What will happen after Boris Johnson's words about a retaliatory strike on Russia?

"Why do they threaten vast Russia with nuclear weapons while they are only a small island?

"The island is so small that one Sarmat missile is enough to drown it once and for all. Russian missile Sarmat [aka Satan-2], the world most powerful… is capable of… destroying an area the size of Texas or England.

Around 100 women and children have been evacuated from Mariupol.
Around 100 women and children have been evacuated from Mariupol. Picture: Getty

Kiselyov went on to say: "A single launch, Boris, and there is no England anymore. Once and for all. Why do they play games?"

He also claimed the Poseidon "underwater drone" would trigger a 1,600ft radioactive tidal wave and "plunge Britain to the depths of the ocean".

It came as evacuations from the besieged city of Mariupol were delayed until Tuesday or Wednesday.

Around 100 women and children rescued from the city did not reach the agreed pickup point by Monday, as originally planned, officials in Ukraine said.

They were expected to arrive in the city of Zaporizhzhia, 140 miles northwest of Mariupol.

As many as 100,000 people are believed to be in blockaded Mariupol still, including up to 1,000 civilians who were hunkered down with an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters beneath the Azovstal steel plant - the only part of the city not occupied by the Russians.