September 30, 2023

LONDON (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was in Britain Monday on his whirlwind European tour, because the staunch ally of Kyiv promised to present Ukraine tons of extra missiles and assault drones in an effort to vary the course of the struggle.

Zelenskyy landed by helicopter at Chequers, the British chief’s official nation retreat, the place he was greeted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with a handshake and a hug. It’s Zelenskyy’s second journey to the U.Okay. since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Zelenskyy thanked Britain for its help up to now, and mentioned the struggle was a matter of “safety not just for Ukraine, it will be significant for all of Europe.”

Sunak instructed Zelenskyy that “your management, your nation’s bravery and fortitude are an inspiration to us all.”

That is the fourth European nation Zelenskky has visited up to now few days, after France, Germany and Italy. He’s searching for extra help as Ukraine prepares a long-anticipated spring offensive to retake territory seized by Russia.

The Kremlin mentioned it took London’s promise to provide Ukraine with extra weapons “extraordinarily negatively,” however on the identical time believed the provides wouldn’t drastically change the course of the struggle, spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned Monday.

“Britain aspires to be on the forefront amongst nations that proceed to pump weapons into Ukraine,” Peskov mentioned. “We repeat as soon as once more, it can not yield any drastic and elementary affect on the best way the particular army operation (in Ukraine) is unfolding. However, positively, it results in additional destruction, additional motion. … It makes this complete story for Ukraine rather more sophisticated.”

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Sunak responded by pledging the U.Okay.’s long-term help for Ukraine.

The U.Okay. has develop into one in every of Ukraine’s main army allies, sending Kyiv short-range missiles and Challenger tanks and coaching 15,000 Ukrainian troops on British soil. Final week, Britain introduced it had despatched Ukraine Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which have a spread of greater than 250 kilometers (150 miles) — the primary recognized cargo of the weaponry that Kyiv has lengthy sought from its allies.

Sunak’s workplace mentioned that on Monday Britain would verify it was giving Ukraine tons of extra air protection missiles, in addition to “long-range assault drones” with a spread of greater than 200 kilometers (120 miles).

“It is a essential second in Ukraine’s resistance to a horrible struggle of aggression they didn’t select or provoke,” Sunak mentioned. “They want the sustained help of the worldwide neighborhood to defend in opposition to the barrage of unrelenting and indiscriminate assaults which were their day by day actuality for over a yr.

“We should not allow them to down.”

Zelenskyy mentioned extra work was wanted to have allies construct a “fighter jet coalition” to supply Ukraine with important air defenses.

Whereas Sunak’s spokesman mentioned no planes could be offered, the prime minister mentioned the U.Okay. could be a key a part of the coalition and would start coaching Ukrainian fighter pilots as quickly as this summer time.

Sunak will even push allies to ship extra help to Ukraine at a gathering of Group of Seven leaders in Japan later this week, Downing Avenue mentioned.

As Zelenskyy visited European capitals, Russia stepped up assaults throughout Ukraine with drones and missiles. On Sunday, Russia shelled two communities within the northern border area of Sumy, regional officers mentioned on Telegram. They mentioned 109 explosions had been recorded.

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Zelenskyy’s workplace mentioned Monday that the shelling had killed 9 civilians and injured 19 up to now day. Six of the deaths had been within the Kherson area. Two civilians had been killed in Chuhuiv within the Kharkiv area and one in Prymorsk, which is on the Azov Beach about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Russian-occupied Berdyansk.

The presidential workplace additionally reported that Marhanets, which lies throughout the river from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, was shelled.

Zelenskyy’s cease in London adopted a beforehand unannounced go to to Paris on Sunday night, the place he met French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron’s workplace mentioned France would provide dozens of sunshine tanks, armored automobiles and extra air protection methods “within the weeks forward,” with out giving particular numbers.

About 2,000 Ukrainian troopers would additionally obtain coaching in France this yr and practically 4,000 others in Poland as a part of a wider European effort, Macron’s workplace mentioned.

France had dispatched a aircraft to choose up Zelenskyy in Germany, the place he met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier Sunday.

It was his first go to to Berlin for the reason that begin of the invasion and got here a day after the German authorities introduced a brand new package deal of army help for Ukraine value greater than 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion), together with tanks, anti-aircraft methods and ammunition.

After initially hesitating to supply Ukraine with deadly weapons, Germany has develop into one of many greatest suppliers of arms to Ukraine, together with Leopard 1 and a pair of battle tanks, and the delicate IRIS-T SLM air protection system. Fashionable Western {hardware} is taken into account essential if Ukraine is to reach its deliberate counteroffensive.

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On Saturday, Zelenskyy met Pope Francis and Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni in Rome.

Throughout his European journey, Zelenskyy mentioned Ukraine would goal to liberate Russian-occupied areas inside Ukraine’s internationally acknowledged borders, and never assault Russian territory.

The Washington Publish cited beforehand undisclosed paperwork from a trove of U.S. intelligence leaks suggesting that Zelenskyy had thought-about attempting to seize areas in Russia correct for doable use as bargaining chips in peace negotiations to finish the struggle launched by Moscow.

This might put him at odds with Western governments which have insisted that weapons they supply should not be used to assault targets in Russia.

Requested concerning the report, Zelenskyy mentioned: “We don’t assault Russian territory, we liberate our personal respectable territory.”

“We now have neither the time nor the energy (to assault Russia),” he mentioned, in keeping with an official interpreter. “And we additionally don’t have weapons to spare with which we may do that.

“We’re getting ready a counterattack for the illegally occupied areas based mostly on our constitutionally outlined respectable borders, that are acknowledged internationally,” Zelenskyy mentioned.

Amongst areas nonetheless occupied by Russia are the Crimean peninsula and components of jap Ukraine with primarily Russian-speaking populations.


Observe AP’s protection of the struggle in Ukraine: