Boris Johnson makes surprise visit to war-torn Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy, pledge help

Streaming HUBJanuary 23, 2023

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Sunday, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and pledged his country’s support in the war against Russia.

Boris was prime minister when Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022, saying the UK would “stick with Ukraine as long as it takes.”

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian President's Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, right, and former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talk during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023.

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian President’s Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, right, and former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talk during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

“You’re going to win and you’re going to get all the Russians out of your country, but we’re going to be in there for a long time,” Johnson said. “And we’d like to help you rebuild, too.”

During his visit, the former prime minister visited Borodica and Bucha, suburbs of the Ukrainian capital that have been witness to some of the most horrific atrocities of the war.

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Kyiv’s regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba told Johnson that more than 160 residents were killed in Borodayanka during the month-long Russian occupation of the city last year, although some 60% of residents have returned.

In Kyiv, top officials, including President Zelensky and the foreign minister, lined up to personally welcome the former British prime minister.

In this image provided by the Ukrainian president's press office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson walk after their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 17, 2022.

In this image provided by the Ukrainian president’s press office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson walk after their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 17, 2022.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

While in office, Johnson sought to position London as one of Kyiv’s top allies in the West. He often visited Kyiv and called on Zelensky frequently.

Meanwhile, supporters of Ukraine pledged billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine during a meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday. International defense leaders discussed Ukraine’s urgent request for 2 Leopard tanks, and failure to work out an agreement could put an end to new commitments.

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Johnson said in a statement, “This is the moment to double down and give the Ukrainian people all the tools they need to finish the job. The sooner Putin fails, the better it is for Ukraine and the world.”

Emergency workers clear debris after a Russian rocket hit a multi-storey building in the southeastern city of Dnipro, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 14.

Emergency workers clear debris after a Russian rocket hit a multi-storey building in the southeastern city of Dnipro, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 14.
(AP/Evgeny Maloletka)

The past week has been particularly tragic for Ukraine, even by the standards of a brutal war that has lasted almost a year, leaving tens of thousands dead, millions uprooted and widespread destruction of Ukrainian cities .

On 14 January a group of Russian missiles struck an apartment complex in the southeastern city of Dnipro, killing at least 45 civilians. A government helicopter crashed into the building of a kindergarten in a suburb of Kyiv on Wednesday. Ukraine’s interior minister, other officials and a child on the ground were among the 14 killed.

Zelensky vowed on Sunday that Ukraine would eventually win the war.

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“We are united because we are strong. We are strong because we are united.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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