'Unbreakable friendship': Zelenskyy makes surprise visit to UK

'Unbreakable friendship': Zelenskyy makes surprise visit to UK
Credit: Philip Reynaers / Belga

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made a surprise visit to the UK, British media has reported.

According to the BBC, a Royal Air Force plane carrying the Ukrainian leader touched down at Stansted Airport at 11:22 CET (10:22 local time) on Wednesday.

"President Zelenskyy's visit to the UK is a testament to his country's courage, determination and fight, and a testament to the unbreakable friendship between our two countries," said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. "Since 2014, the UK has provided vital training to Ukrainian forces, allowing them to defend their country, protect their sovereignty and fight for their territory."

During his visit, Zelenskyy is scheduled to make a formal address to the House of Commons, pay a visit to King Charles III at Buckingham Palace, and oversee Ukrainian troops currently being trained by the British military.

Zelenskyy's trip — his first to the UK since 2020 — also comes just minutes after Downing Street announced a new military aid package to Ukraine, which includes longer-range weapons, the additional training of Ukrainian troops, and a new round of sanctions against Russia.

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"The aid package underlines our commitment to not just provide military equipment for the short term, but a long-term pledge to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine for years to come," said Sunak.

Zelenskyy's arrival in London marks his third foreign trip since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February last year, after journeys to the US and Poland shortly before Christmas.

The Ukrainian leader's visit also comes just before an expected trip to Brussels on Thursday, during which Zelenskyy is expected to address the European Parliament and attend a summit of EU leaders.

According to UK Government data, Britain committed £2.3bn in military aid to Ukraine 2022, making it the country's second largest military donor after the US.

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