Boris Johnson pledges new military aid to Ukraine after British Prime Minister’s surprise visit to Kyiv

Johnson and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nahammer made two separate visits to Zelensky on Saturday, the latest in a series of leaders who have traveled to the country during the ongoing Russian invasion.

A photo posted on Twitter by the Ukrainian embassy in the UK showed Johnson sitting across from Zelensky at a table in a pink and green room. The post was captioned with the word “surprise” and a winking face emoji.

The press service of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine said on its official Twitter account that the two leaders held talks in Kyiv and published several photos of the previously unannounced meeting.

Johnson posted on Twitter that his visit to Kyiv was a “demonstration of our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine” and announced a new package of financial and military aid.

“Ukraine defied the odds and drove the Russian forces out of the gates of Kyiv, achieving the greatest achievement of the 21st century,” the British prime minister said in a statement.

He praised Zelensky’s “resolute leadership” and “the indomitable heroism and courage of the Ukrainian people”, adding that the UK “stands firmly with them in this ongoing battle…we are in it for the long term”.

After the meeting, Downing Street said the UK government would provide armored vehicles and anti-ship missile systems “as well as high-quality £100m worth of military equipment” announced on Friday.

Zelensky and Nehamer’s meeting was separate from the meeting with Johnson and occurred earlier on Saturday, according to Zelensky’s official Telegram channel.

While many other leaders have visited Ukraine in recent weeks, Nehamer’s trip is significant given his country’s neutral status, and he is enshrined in its constitution.
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Austria is not part of NATO Ukraine does not supply weapons. However , Provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine helmets and protective vests for civilian use, according to a statement issued by the Austrian Chancellery.

Nahamer said on Saturday that while his country is militarily neutral, “we understand that we have to help where injustice and war crimes are committed.”

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According to his office, Nehamer is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Denis Shmyal and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, before returning to Austria on Saturday evening.

He is also scheduled to visit the Kyiv suburb of Nehamer Bucha, which has endured five weeks of almost continuous battles; After the withdrawal of the Russian forces from the town, the bodies of at least 20 civilians were found Found lying in one street, Some have their hands tied.
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Nahamer said Bucha was “a place of war crimes”.

“We have to declare these war crimes to the United Nations, and international justice must begin to investigate and fight these crimes,” he said during a press conference with Zelensky.

The visits by Johnson and Neyhamer came a day after top EU officials visited Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Josep Borrell, the bloc’s chief diplomat, visited Kyiv and Bucha on Friday, along with Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger.

During the visit, the festivity of von der Leyen Zelensky handed in a questionnaire from the European Union To complete it – a symbolic but important step towards Ukraine’s membership in the bloc. “We will speed up this process as much as possible, while ensuring that all conditions are respected,” von der Leyen said in a tweet about the move.
Prime Ministers Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia He visited Kyiv last month, at a time when it was still regularly targeted by Russian strikes. Like Johnson’s visit on Saturday, that trip was kept secret until the three leaders arrived in the country, on a train from eastern Ukraine.

CNN’s Sarah Dean writes in Przemysl, Poland, and Ivana Kutsova writes in London. CNN’s James Frater, Radina Jegova, Alex Hardy, Tara John and Max Foster contributed reporting.

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