UK promises extra military aid for Ukraine as Zelensky meets Sunak

Zelensky arrived in the UK on Monday morning to meet with Rishi Sunak amid Ukraine’s ongoing military resistance to the Russian invasion.

Zelensky meets Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for talks as UK promises extra military aid for Ukraine Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Ukraine will be provided with air defence missiles and attack drones from the UK, Downing Street announced on Monday as the country’s leader met with the Prime Minister.

President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in the UK on Monday morning to meet with Rishi Sunak amid Ukraine’s ongoing military resistance to the Russian invasion.

In the latest leg of the Ukrainian president’s tour of western allies, Zelensky said the two leaders would have “substantive negotiations” on the response to Russia’s invasion.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister would welcome Zelensky to the country retreat in Buckinghamshire as the UK continues “sustaining our support” for the war-torn country.

Zelensky is the first world leader Sunak has hosted at his grace-and-favour country residence.

It follows meetings in Paris, Berlin and Rome and comes three months after Zelensky’s first trip to London since the start of the war.

The Ukrainian leader attended an audience with the King and addressed parliament in February. 

Sunak said: “This is a crucial moment in Ukraine’s resistance to a terrible war of aggression they did not choose or provoke.

“They need the sustained support of the international community to defend against the barrage of unrelenting and indiscriminate attacks that have been their daily reality for over a year.

“We must not let them down. The frontlines of (Russian president Vladimir) Putin’s war of aggression may be in Ukraine but the fault lines stretch all over the world. It is in all our interest to ensure Ukraine succeeds and Putin’s barbarism is not rewarded.

“That is why the UK is sustaining our support to Ukraine – from tanks to training, ammunition to armoured vehicles. And this message of solidarity will ring loud in all my meetings with fellow world leaders in the days ahead.”

Zelensky tweeted: “Today – London. The UK is a leader when it comes to expanding our capabilities on the ground and in the air.

“This cooperation will continue today. I will meet my friend Rishi. We will conduct substantive negotiations face-to-face and in delegations.”

The visit comes days after Liverpool hosted Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine.

The latest package of military assistance will see hundreds of air defence missiles and further unmanned aerial systems including long-range attack drones with a range of more than 200 kilometres (124 miles).

The new equipment will be delivered over the coming months.

The UK has also recently promised long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Kyiv after continued Russian attacks.

The meeting between the two leaders comes at the start of a week of intense diplomatic activity on the Ukraine crisis.

Sunak will attend a Council of Europe summit in Iceland – with Zelensky joining virtually – before heading to Japan for the G7 gathering in Hiroshima.