Ukraine's Zelensky meets with UK PM Sunak in Kyiv

Liz Truss and her predecessor Boris Johnson had both made public support for Ukraine an important part of their agenda, and Sunak has said he will continue this.

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during his visit, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 19, 2022.  (photo credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during his visit, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 19, 2022.
(photo credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

Britain's new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made his first visit to Kyiv on Saturday, pledging to continue the firm support for Ukraine that was a focus of policy under his predecessors.

"Britain knows what it means to fight for freedom," Sunak said on Twitter. "We are with you all the way."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video on Saturday of the two meeting in Kyiv.

"With friends like you by our side, we are confident in our victory. Both of our nations know what it means to stand up for freedom," Zelensky tweeted.

"With friends like you by our side, we are confident in our victory. Both of our nations know what it means to stand up for freedom,"

Volodymyr Zelensky

Sunak, a former finance minister, took office last month following the short-lived premiership of Liz Truss. She and her predecessor Boris Johnson had both made public support for Ukraine an important part of their agenda, and Sunak has said he will continue this.

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and Britain's new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visit at an exhibition displaying destroyed Russian military vehicles, amid Russia's invasion, in central Kyiv, Ukraine November 19, 2022. U (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS) Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and Britain's new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visit at an exhibition displaying destroyed Russian military vehicles, amid Russia's invasion, in central Kyiv, Ukraine November 19, 2022. U (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

UK to provide new air defence package for Ukraine

Sunak said in a statement that Britain would provide a new 50 million pound ($60 million) package that includes anti-aircraft guns and technology such as radar to counter drone attacks. Britain also said it would increase the training it provides to Ukraine's armed forces.

"While Ukraine's armed forces succeed in pushing back Russian forces on the ground, civilians are being brutally bombarded from the air," Sunak said in his statement.

"We are today providing new air defense, including anti-aircraft guns, radar and anti-drone equipment, and stepping up humanitarian support for the cold, hard winter ahead."

Russia has increasingly targeted Ukrainian energy infrastructure with long range attacks since last month, including using what Kyiv says are Iranian-made drones, for which Ukraine has sought air defenses from the West.