Boris Johnson in surprise visit to Ukraine to meet President Zelensky and pledges UK backing for ‘as long as it takes’

BORIS Johnson has made a surprise visit to Ukraine where he met President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The former prime minister told the Ukrainians the UK would back him “as long as it takes” to defeat Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine war.

Boris Johnson visited the town of Borodianka


Boris Johnson visited the town of BorodiankaCredit: Reuters
The former PM held talks with President Zelensky


The former PM held talks with President ZelenskyCredit: AFP
The pair were seen meeting in the capital Kyiv


The pair were seen meeting in the capital KyivCredit: AFP
Mr Johnson was pictured in Ukraine this morning


Mr Johnson was pictured in Ukraine this morningCredit: Reuters

He was spotted in the town of Bucha, where a mass grave filled with hundreds of victims of a Russian massacre was unearthed last year.

Mr Johnson was also seen in the Ukrainian city of Borodianka and other suburbs in Kyiv.

“I can tell you that the UK will be sticking by Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he told the mayor of Bucha.

“You’re going to win and you’re going to get all the Russians out of your country, but we will be there for the long-term.

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“And we will also want to be helping you to reconstruct.”

Mr Johnson was then seen meeting President Zelensky and the pair warmly shook hands before holding face-to-face talks.

The ex-PM said in a statement: “It is a privilege to visit Ukraine at the invitation of President Zelensky.

“The suffering of the people of Ukraine has gone on for too long.

“The only way to end this war is for Ukraine to win – and to win as fast as possible.

“This is the moment to double down and to give the Ukrainians all the tools they need to finish the job.

“The sooner Putin fails, the better for Ukraine and for the whole world.”

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson added that he fully supports UK Government policy on Ukraine, including the recent decision to send Challenger 2 tanks.

“His visit demonstrates solidarity with the people of Ukraine, “they said.

Mr Johnson’s visit comes just days after he was named an honorary “Citizen of Kyiv.”

The former PM received the honorary medal during a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

He said it was a “huge honour” before adding: “There is no doubt in mind at all that Putin has made a catastrophic mistake.

“The only thing that we friends of Ukraine have got to do is continue our support for Ukraine, with tanks, with planes, with whatever it takes until Ukraine wins.”

The Prime Minister’s office said in a statement that Rishi Sunak is “always supportive of all colleagues showing that the UK is behind Ukraine and will continue to support them”.

A strong supporter of the Ukrainian President, Johnson was planning his visit in the past few weeks.

Earlier this month a friend of Johnson’s told the Times that he would go to Ukraine “imminently”.

Mr Johnson’s visit to Ukraine aims to pressure the West to continue their military support to the war-torn country.

The UK announced plans to provide Ukraine with British army Challenger 2 battle tanks ahead of a spring offensive to push back the Russian army.

Deadly Challenger 2s have the longest range of any Nato tanks due to their rifled 120mm main gun.

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The ex-PM’s visit to Ukraine comes as he is facing questions over his finances over claims a former advisor helped him get an £800,000 loan – before being made BBC chairman.

The referral has been made by the Labour Party over what it called a “quagmire of sleaze” – however the ex-Prime Minister has strongly refuted the claims.

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