Sunak and Zelensky discuss long-term support for Ukraine as war approaches one year mark
Rishi Sunak has promised Volodymyr Zelensky that Britain’s military aid would reach Ukrainian frontlines “as quicky as possible” on the approach to one year since war broke out.
On a call on Saturday, the Prime Minister updated Zelensky on Ukrainian forces who have begun training in the UK on Challenger 2 tanks and had hailed Zelensky’s “strong leadership”.
Both leaders agreed on the importance of UN partners once again demonstrating their solidarity with the wartorn country in the lead-up to the anniversary of Russia’s “unprovoked invasion”.
Mr Sunak, tweeted after the call: “Good to update President Zelensky this afternoon on the defensive equipment we are providing to Ukraine.
“I’m focused on ensuring this reaches the front line as quickly as possible. But the greatest weapon in Ukraine’s arsenal is international unity. We will keep it up.”
A Downing Street spokesperson, said: “The leaders discussed the latest situation on the ground in Ukraine and the Prime Minister said he was focused on ensuring the UK’s defensive military equipment reached the front line as quickly as possible.
“As part of that effort, Ukrainian soldiers had already begun training on Challenger 2 tanks in the UK this week, the Prime Minister added.
“Both leaders agreed that it was vital that international partners accelerated their assistance to Ukraine to help seize the opportunity to push Russian forces back, as well as looking at how they could support the long-term capability of Ukraine’s armed forces.”
They added: “The Prime Minister said he had met Ukrainian troops training in the UK last week, and was inspired by their courage and the stories of their loved ones back home. He added that they had paid tribute to President Zelensky’s strong leadership.”
It comes after one of Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisors warned that Vladimir Putin is plotting “maximum escalation” to mark the first anniversary of the war.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, said Moscow is “obsessed” with dates and would be focusing on February 24, the day the 70-year-old Russian leader began his so-called “special military operation”.as his forces try desperately to secure more territory before Western battle tanks arrive in Ukraine.
Mr Zelensky said yesterday Russia is accelerating operations in eastern Ukraine.
Military analyst Yevhen Dikiy said forces are pushing from both the north and south to encircle Bakhmut, using superior troop numbers to try to cut it off.
Mr Zelensky said his country would fight to hold on to the city for as long as it could.
It came as a Russian factory reportedly helping rebuild a Crimean bridge was hit following a suspected stealth Ukrainian missile strike across the border.
Local media reported that the major factory, in the Belgorod region, produces spare parts to help reconstruct the Kerch Strait Bridge, which was severely damaged in a Ukrainian attack last year.