Boris Johnson makes second surprise visit to Kyiv since Russian invasion

The Prime Minister cancelled an appearance in Wakefield scheduled for today

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Boris Johnson has made his second surprise visit to Kyiv since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

The Prime Minister met President Volodymyr Zelensky during the visit to the Ukrainian capital.

Boris Johnson tweeted a picture of himself with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, adding: “Mr President, Volodymyr, it is good to be in Kyiv again.”

The PM had been due to attend a key Red Wall conference in Wakefield but cancelled the appearance.

Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelensky
Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelensky

As part of the visit, Mr Johnson has offered to launch a major training operation for Ukrainian forces, with the potential to train up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days.

The offer to President Zelenskyy came as the pair discussed the situation in Ukraine, and how the Ukrainian people continue to inspire the world with their incredible resistance.

Video grab image issued by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Video grab image issued by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The UK-led programme would train and drill the Armed Forces of Ukraine using battle-proven British Army expertise, allowing them to accelerate their deployment, rebuild their forces, and scale-up their resistance as they continue to defend their nation’s sovereignty against Russian invaders.

International partners would be invited to host the programme, if the offer is accepted by Ukraine.

Mr Johnson said: "“My visit today, in the depths of this war, is to send a clear and simple message to the Ukrainian people: the UK is with you, and we will be with you until you ultimately prevail.

“As Ukrainian soldiers fire UK missiles in defence of your nation’s sovereignty, they do so also in defence of the very freedoms we take for granted.

“That is why I have offered President Zelenskyy a major new military training programme that could change the equation of this war –harnessing that most powerful of forces, the Ukrainian determination to win.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Ukrainian Presidential Press Office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“Two months on from my last visit, the Ukrainian grit, determination and resilience is stronger than ever, and I know that unbreakable resolve will long outlive the vain ambitions of President Putin.”

Boris had been due to address Tory MPs and party members during a Northern Research Group event in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on Friday.

But in the afternoon, he tweeted a picture of himself with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the war-torn nation’s capital – his second visit since Russia began its invasion in February.

His last-minute cancellation at the Tory conference comes after the Conservative candidate for the Wakefield by-election compared trust in the party amid the resignation of disgraced former MP for the constituency, Imran Ahmad Khan, to faith in GPs despite the crimes of mass murderer Harold Shipman.

Mr Khan resigned after being found guilty of groping a teenage boy, and Nadeem Ahmed will be running to replace him in the West Yorkshire seat in less than a week.

Mr Johnson’s trip to Ukraine was kept a closely guarded secret, with Conservative MP Jake Berry telling reporters at 1pm he did not know why the PM was not there but that the reason would be clarified “in the next hour”.

When asked why Mr Johnson had pulled out, Mr Berry, who represents Rossendale and Darwen, said: “I don’t know.