Zelensky Makes Surprise Visit to Britain, Sunak Promises More Attack Drones and Missiles

Ukrainian President Zelensky is on a surprise tour of Europe drumming up support for his nation’s defence against the Russian invasion, and is expected to have “substantive negotiations” with the UK Prime Minister today over military aid.

While negotiations over further military aid are expected between the Ukrainian and United Kingdom leaders are said to be happening Monday, even as President Zelensky touched down the British government already announced more weapons to be sent to the country.

Shortly before he touched down in the United Kingdom — and was photographed disembarking a military helicopter and embracing the UK PM in a hug — Zelensky wrote that he was going to meet his “friend” Mr Sunak and was expecting to “conduct substantive negotiations face-to-face”.

Zelensky said: “The UK is a leader when it comes to expanding our capabilities on the ground and in the air. This cooperation will continue today.”

The negotiations are to take place at Chequers House, the government-owned country house which is reserved as a rural retreat for the UK Prime Minister of the day. Given its seclusion, it has been a favourite location for summits and talks for decades.

AYLESBURY, ENGLAND – MAY 15: Britain’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak (R), shakes hands with Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as he greets him on his arrival at Chequers on May 15, 2023 in Aylesbury, England. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Speaking before the meetings, Mr Sunak said per The Times: “This is a crucial moment in Ukraine’s resistance to a terrible war of aggression they did not choose or provoke… We must not let them down. The frontlines of Putin’s war of aggression may be in Ukraine but the fault lines stretch all over the world.” The Prime Minister said the United Kingdom was to send more “attack drones” to “strike deep behind frontlines and disrupt Russian supply lines and logistic hubs” and “hundreds” more missiles for air defence.

The gifts follow the UK providing cruise missiles to Ukraine last week, and will presumably be followed by more giving of military equipment today if the talks go Ukraine’s way.

Extra weapons from Britain also follow other fresh pledges of support from European nations over the weekend, as Zelensky goes from capital to capital pleading for weapons to fend off the Russian invasion of his nation. In France, President Macron promised armoured cars light tanks such as the wheeled AMX-10RC, but as reported by the Associated Press was not drawn on the question of giving Western fighter jets to Ukraine, the item at the top of Kyiv’s shopping list.

Zelensky also visited Germany and Italy, with Berlin announcing a new military aid package including a batch of older Leopard One tanks — Ukraine had previously celebrated receiving its successor, the Leopard Two — air defence systems, armoured cars, and drones. Zelensky said of the meeting he had in Germany that he thanked the people of that nation for the “powerful defence package” which would defend lives from Russian terror.

President Zelensky said “We are returning with important decisions on weapons for our warriors… This is yet another recognition that our people are defending freedom – their own and that of the whole of Europe – and strengthening European unity.”


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