Rishi Sunak made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, making his first visit to the country since taking office.
Zelenskiy posted a video on Saturday showing him meeting Sunak in the capital. “At today’s meeting, we discussed the most important issues for both our national and global security,” he wrote on Telegram’s messaging app.
A No 10 spokesperson said: Ukraine Today, I made my first visit to Kyiv to meet with President Zelensky and confirm the UK’s continued support. ”
Following in the footsteps of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, Sunak promised that Britain’s support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia would remain unwavering.
The prime minister, who has spoken to Zelensky several times since he entered Downing Street, will use his attendance at the G20 this week to join with allies and other Western leaders to condemn Vladimir Putin’s aggression. did.
Sunak’s arrival was accompanied by the announcement of a £50 million defense aid package that includes 125 anti-aircraft guns and technology such as radar and anti-drone technology to help Ukraine counter Iran-supplied drones. rice field.
Before meeting with paramedics at the fire station, Sunak laid a wreath at the Kyiv War Memorial and lit a candle at the Holodomor Famine Victims Memorial.
He said it was “very humbling” to be in Kyiv. “I am here today to say that Britain and our allies will continue to support Ukraine as we fight to end this barbaric war and achieve a just peace,” he said.
“Ukrainian forces are successfully pushing back Russian forces on the ground, but civilians are being subjected to brutal airstrikes. , is stepping up humanitarian assistance in the face of a cold and harsh winter.
“It is very humbling to come to Kyiv today and have the opportunity to meet people who do so much and pay such a high price.”
The visit comes as Kyiv and several other parts of Ukraine grapple with power shortages following persistent Russian attacks on critical infrastructure.
On Saturday, the head of Ukraine’s largest private energy company urged Ukrainians to consider leaving the country to save energy.
Moscow is trying to force Ukraine into a peace deal that Kyiv won’t accept, destroying the country’s energy system with a series of massive strikes against power and heat infrastructure. Never before have energy systems been subjected to such intense airstrikes and threatened with blackouts for such long periods of time.
As temperatures dip below freezing this week and the first snow falls on the streets of Kyiv, power outages from Russian airstrikes have caused people across Ukraine to start worrying about heating their homes.
In an interview with the BBC, Maxim Timchenko, chief executive of energy company DTEK, said Ukraine’s power system has become less reliable with each Russian attack.
Timchenko suggested that reducing power consumption is key to staying up and running.
“It would be very helpful for the system if Ukrainians could find another place to stay for another three or four months.
“Reduced consumption guarantees power supply to hospitals with wounded soldiers,” Timchenko added. “In this way, by consuming less or staying away, you can explain that you are doing something for other people as well.”
Zelenskiy said about 10 million people lacked access to electricity, and the power situation in more than a dozen regions was “extremely difficult.”
“The power supply situation is difficult in 17 regions and the capital,” he said. “The situation is very difficult in the Kiev region and the city of Kiev, the Odessa region, as well as in Vinnitia and Ternopil. [areas in western Ukraine]”
Zelensky knows that the cold is one of the biggest obstacles in this war. He’s known it for months. Even at the end of August, he was warning the public of “difficult times ahead.”
Two days ago, Zelensky was even clearer. “If we survive this winter, Ukraine will definitely win this war,” he said.
At least six civilians have been killed and six others wounded in Zaporizhia, Ukraine’s southeast, according to the Ukrainian president’s office. fighting is still raging.
Ten people, including three children, were killed in a Russian rocket attack on a house in the city of Vilnyansk, Zaporizhia province, on Thursday.
At least 437 Ukrainian children have been killed and more than 837 wounded as a result of the Russian aggression, Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office said on Saturday.
The eastern Donetsk region was the most affected, with 423 children killed or injured, prosecutors said.
Officials said the figures were “not final” as they were still confirming information from areas of active fighting, liberated areas and areas occupied by Russian forces.
AFP, AP and Reuters contributed to this report
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/nov/19/rishi-sunak-meets-volodymyr-zelenskiy-in-surprise-visit-to-ukraine Rishi Snak meets Volodymyr Zelensky on a surprise visit to Ukraine | Rishi Snak