Britain's Boris Johnson meets Zelenskiy on surprise Kyiv trip

# 18 June 2022 00:38 (UTC +04:00)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered to launch a military training programme for Ukrainian forces on Friday as he met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on his second trip to the Ukrainian capital since Russia's invasion, APA reports citing Reuters.

Johnson, who survived a no confidence vote earlier this month, was greeted by Zelenskiy as a "great friend" and posted a picture of himself with the Ukrainian president, with the words "Mr President, Volodymyr, It is good to be in Kyiv again".

Johnson offered to launch a major training operation for Ukrainian forces, with the potential to train up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days at the meeting, his office said.

"My visit today, in the depths of this war, is to send a clear and simple message to the Ukrainian people: the UK is with you, and we will be with you until you ultimately prevail," Johnson said.

"That is why I have offered President Zelenskiy a major new military training programme that could change the equation of this war – harnessing that most powerful of forces, the Ukrainian determination to win."

The unannounced trip was Johnson's latest show of support for Zelenskiy since Russia invaded Ukraine in February but might have come at the expense of his own lawmakers.

Some were angry after he cancelled an appearance at a conference in northern England, where some Conservatives won traditionally opposition Labour-supporting parliamentary seats for the first time in 2019.

The trip also came a day after the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania travelled to Kyiv and endorsed Ukraine's candidate status to join the European Union.