UK promises more missiles and attack drones for Ukraine as Zelenskyy meets Sunak

LONDON: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was in Britain on his whirlwind European tour on Monday, as kyiv’s staunch ally promised to give Ukraine hundreds of missiles and attack drones with the aim of changing the course of the war.
Zelenskyy landed by helicopter at Checkers, the British leader’s official retreat, where he was greeted by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with a handshake and a hug. It is Zelenskyy’s second trip to the UK since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
Zelenskyy thanked Britain for its support so far and said the war was a matter of “security not only for Ukraine, it is important for all of Europe”.
Sunak said Zelensky that “your leadership, the bravery and the courage of your country are an inspiration to us all”.
It is the fourth European country that Zelenskky has visited in recent days, after France, Germany and Italy. He is seeking more help as Ukraine prepares for a long-awaited spring offensive to retake territory seized by Russia.
The Kremlin said London’s promise to supply Ukraine with more weapons was ‘extremely negative’, but at the same time it believed the supplies would not dramatically change the tide of the war, the gatekeeper said on Monday. -word Dmitry Peskov.
“Britain aspires to be at the forefront among countries that continue to inject arms into Ukraine,” Peskov said. “We repeat once again, this cannot have any drastic and fundamental influence on the course of the special military operation (in Ukraine). But, without a doubt, it leads to further destruction, further action. … It makes this whole story for Ukraine much more complicated.”
Sunak responded by pledging the UK’s long-term support for Ukraine.
The UK has become one of Ukraine’s key military allies, sending short-range missiles to kyiv and Challenger tanks and training 15,000 Ukrainian troops on British soil. Last week Britain announced it had sent Ukraine Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which have a range of more than 250 kilometers (150 miles) – the first known delivery of the weaponry Kiev has long sought. with his allies.
Sunak’s office said on Monday Britain would confirm it was giving Ukraine hundreds of additional air defense missiles, as well as “long-range attack drones” with a range of more than 200 kilometers (120 miles).
“This is a crucial moment in Ukraine’s resistance to a terrible war of aggression that it neither chose nor provoked,” Sunak said. daily reality for more than a year.
“We must not let them down.”
Zelenskyy said more work was needed for the allies to form a “coalition of fighter jets” to provide Ukraine with vital air defenses.
While Sunak’s spokesman said no planes would be provided, the prime minister said the UK would be a key part of the coalition and would start training Ukrainian fighter pilots as early as this summer.
Sunak will also push his allies for more support for Ukraine at a meeting of Group of Seven leaders in Japan later this week, Downing Street said.
As Zelenskyy visited European capitals, Russia stepped up its attacks across Ukraine with drones and missiles. On Sunday, Russia shelled two communities in the northern border region of Sumy, regional officials said on Telegram. They said 109 explosions were recorded.
Zelenskyy’s office said on Monday the shelling had killed nine civilians and injured 19 over the past day. Six of the deaths occurred in the Kherson region. Two civilians were killed in Chuhuiv in the Kharkiv region and one in Prymorsk, which is on the Sea of ​​Azov coast about 20 kilometers from Russian-occupied Berdyansk.
The presidential office also reported that Marhanets, which is across the river from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, was bombed.
Zelenskyy’s stop in London follows an unannounced visit to Paris on Sunday evening, where he met the French president Emmanuel Macron.
Macron’s office said France would supply dozens of light tanks, armored vehicles and more air defense systems “in the coming weeks”, without giving specific numbers.
About 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers would also receive training in France this year and nearly 4,000 more in Poland as part of a wider European effort, Macron’s office said.
France had dispatched a plane to collect Zelenskyy from Germany, where he had met Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier on Sunday.
It was his first visit to Berlin since the start of the invasion and came a day after the German government announced a new military aid package to Ukraine worth more than 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion), including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition. .
After initially hesitating to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, Germany has become one of Ukraine’s largest arms suppliers, including Leopard 1 and 2 main battle tanks and the sophisticated air defense system IRIS-T SLM. Modern Western equipment is seen as crucial if Ukraine is to succeed in its planned counter-offensive.
On Saturday, Zelenskyy met Pope Francis and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Rome.
During his trip to Europe, Zelenskyy said Ukraine would aim to liberate Russian-occupied areas within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, not attack Russian territory.
The Washington Post cited previously undisclosed documents from a slew of US intelligence leaks suggesting that Zelenskyy had considered trying to capture areas in Russia suitable for possible use as bargaining chips in peace talks for put an end to the war launched by Moscow.
That would put him at odds with Western governments who have insisted that the weapons they supply must not be used to attack targets in Russia.
Asked about the report, Zelenskyy said: “We are not attacking Russian territory, we are liberating our own legitimate territory.”
“We have neither the time nor the strength (to attack Russia),” he said, according to an official interpreter. “And we don’t have any weapons to spare with which to do this either.
“We are preparing a counterattack for the illegally occupied areas on the basis of our constitutionally defined legitimate borders, which are internationally recognized,” Zelenskyy said.
Among the areas still occupied by Russia are the Crimean Peninsula and parts of eastern Ukraine with predominantly Russian-speaking populations.


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