Ukraine: Zelensky praises UK’s ‘leadership’ during meeting with Ben Wallace

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Ukraine: Zelensky praises UK’s ‘leadership’ during meeting with Ben Wallace
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Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed Great Britain as a “friend” of Ukraine during a meeting with Ben Wallace this week.

In a video on Mr Zelensky’s Telegram channel, the Ukrainian president praised Britain and thanked the country for its continued “leadership” throughout the conflict.

"I am grateful in general to Great Britain, the government and the prime minister," Mr Zelensky said.

“The war highlights who is our friend or friends as not just strategic friends, but real friends now. And I believe Great Britain is a friend.

"Arms, money, and sanctions, these are three things in which Great Britain consistently demonstrates its leadership.”

As the war continues to rage in the country, Mr Wallace met with the country’s president and defence minister Oleksii Reznikov to discuss the evolving needs of Ukraine.

The UK has so far delivered military aid worth more than £750million but recently announced multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) to Ukrainian forces defend themselves from Russian long-range artillery.

The meeting comes after Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, were convicted on Thursday of carrying out terrorist acts at a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

Liz Truss has since raised the issue with Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.

The Foreign Secretary tweeted: “Spoke with Ukrainian FM Dmytro Kuleba to discuss efforts to secure the release of prisoners of war held by Russian proxies.

“The judgement against them is an egregious breach of the Geneva convention. The UK continues to back Ukraine against Putin’s barbaric invasion.”

On Friday, Robert Jenrick, Tory MP for Newark where Mr Aslin lived, called on Ms Truss to summon the Russian ambassador to the Foreign Office and to send the “clearest signal possible” to Russia that the way the two men are being treated is unacceptable.

Education minister Robin Walker added the Government will use “all diplomatic channels” to pressure Russian-backed authorities to treat the Britons in accordance with international law.

Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner were both members of the regular Ukrainian military units fighting in Mariupol, the southern port city which fell to Russian forces last month after weeks of heavy fighting.

A third man, Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim, was convicted alongside Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner on Thursday.

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