Zelenskyy visits hospitalised Ukrainian soldiers after MPs call for him to be knighted

13 March 2022, 07:39 | Updated: 13 March 2022, 18:50

President Zelenskyy has visited Ukrainian soldiers in hospital hours after British MPs called for him to be awarded a knighthood
President Zelenskyy has visited Ukrainian soldiers in hospital hours after British MPs called for him to be awarded a knighthood. Picture: Ukraine Ministry of Defence

By Will Taylor

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited wounded Ukrainian soldiers in hospital to wish them well and boost morale.

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Photos shared by the Ukraine Ministry of Defence show the president taking selfies with wounded soldiers and shaking hands with staff.

He told troops to "get well soon" and said the "best gift" for them would be "our common victory".

President Zelenskyy was earlier been put forward for a knighthood by MPs after the comedian-turned-war leader won admiration around the world for his bravery in the face of Putin's invasion.

He has won international respect for how he has stepped up to the crease to rally Ukrainians in defence of their homeland.

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The Sun reported that Bob Seely, the Conservative MP who sits on the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, said: "Zelenskyy has been a true leader. He has given a voice and set an example to his people in their hour of courage."

Such an honour would not entitle Mr Zelenskyy to call himself Sir Volodymyr, however – only British and Commonwealth citizens can do that. Foreigners can get an honorary knighthood.

Adding to the calls, Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said: "I believe we should simultaneously award Volodymyr Zelenskyy an honorary knighthood for his outstanding and charismatic leadership of a nation — while seeking to indict Putin as a war criminal."

It comes days after Mr Zelenskyy delivered a historic speech to MPs in the Commons in which he invoked both Churchill and Shakespeare.

Calling again for Western powers to ensure Ukraine's sky is clear of the Russian air force – something they have refused to do for fears of sparking a wider war with Moscow – the president said: "The question for us now is to be or not to be. Oh no, this Shakespearean question.

"For 13 days this question could have been asked but now I can give you a definitive answer. It's definitely yes, to be.

"And I would like to remind you the words that the United Kingdom have already heard, which are important again. We will not give up and we will not lose.

"We will fight until the end, at sea, in the air. We will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost.

"We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets.

"I'd like to add that we will fight on the banks of different rivers and we're looking for your help, for the help of the civilised countries.

"We're thankful for this help and I'm very grateful to you Boris, please increase the pressure of sanctions against this country [Russia], please recognise this country as a terrorist state and please make sure our Ukrainian skies are safe.

"Please make sure you do what needs to be done and what is stipulated by the greatness of your country.

"Glory to Ukraine and glory to the United Kingdom."

Mr Zelenskyy has refused to leave Kyiv despite the Russian advance and fears he is the main target of the invasion.

Observers fear Putin wants to overthrow him and his democratically-elected government and install a puppet regime favourable to Moscow in his place.

Russians continue to try and encircle the capital, and are attacking and besieging urban areas like Kharkiv, the second city, and coastal Mariupol.

But they have been stalled by strong Ukrainian defence throughout the country.