Johnson and Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer made separate visits to Zelensky on Saturday, the latest in a string of leaders to travel to the country during the ongoing Russian invasion.
A photograph tweeted by Ukraine’s Embassy to the UK showed Johnson seated opposite Zelensky at a table in a pink and green stuccoed 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 had held talks in Kyiv, posting several photographs of the pair’s previously unannounced meeting.
Johnson posted on Twitter that his visit to Kyiv was “a show of our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine” and announced a new package of financial and military aid.
“Ukraine has defied the odds and pushed back Russian forces from the gates of Kyiv, achieving the greatest feat of arms of the 21st century,” the UK PM said in a statement.
He praised Zelensky’s “resolute leadership” and the “invincible heroism and courage of the Ukrainian people,” adding that the UK “stands unwaveringly with them in this ongoing fight … we are in it for the long run.”
Later in his nightly address posted on social media, Zelensky thanked the UK and Johnson.
“Boris was among those who didn’t doubt for a minute whether to support Ukraine. The leadership of Great Britain in providing our country help in defense, and also leadership in the sanctions policy, will always be in history.
“Ukraine will always be grateful for this to Boris and Britain,” Zelensky said.
During the press conference, Johnson said the UK will continue to intensify sanctions against Russia. Johnson also said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions have dealt a “crushing blow” to his reputation and the Russian government.
“We will influence Russia’s ability to use its energy resources,” he added. “The war determines the vision of Ukraine’s future, so our partners and I will supply Ukraine with equipment, technology, intelligence so that Ukraine never faces the horrors of invasion and blackmail.”
Following the meeting, Downing Street said the UK government would provide armored vehicles and anti-ship missile systems, “in addition to the £100 million worth of high-grade military equipment” announced on Friday.
Zelensky and Nehammer’s meeting was separate to the one with Johnson and happened earlier on Saturday, according to Zelensky’s official Telegram channel.
While several other leaders have visited Ukraine in recent weeks, the trip by Nehammer is significant given his country’s neutral status, which is enshrined in its constitution. Source: UK pledges new military assistance for Ukraine after PM’s surprise visit to Kyiv