London, Jun 17 (EFE).- The United Kingdom’s prime minister Boris Johnson on Friday made an unannounced trip to Kyiv, where he offered president Volodymyr Zelenskyy a British-led military training program for the Ukrainian armed forces.
It was Johnson’s second visit to the Ukrainian capital since Russian leader Vladimir Putin launched his invasion on February 24.
A statement released by the UK government detailed the military training program that Johnson offered Zelenskyy, claiming it could train up to 10,000 soldiers every 100 days.
The UK trained more than 22,000 Ukrainian troops from 2015 until the Russian invasion this year, the statement said, adding that the new program would be based outside Ukraine.
“As Ukrainian soldiers fire UK missiles in defense of your nation’s sovereignty, they do so also in defense of the very freedoms we take for granted,” Johnson said in the statement.
“That is why I have offered President Zelenskyy a major new military training programme that could change the equation of this war — harnessing that most powerful of forces, the Ukrainian determination to win.”
Later in the day, Johnson told a joint press conference with Ukraine’s president that it was “great to be back” in Kyiv.
“We’ve got to face the fact that only a couple of hours away, a barbaric assault continues on entirely innocent people. Towns and villages are being reduced to rubble,” he added.
“We continue to see the deliberate targeting of civilians, which is unquestionably a war crime and in a hideous echo of the past, the illegal deportation of people that Russian forces believe are insufficiently sympathetic to Putin’s aggression.”
He praised the “heroism” and “bravery” of the Ukrainian armed forces.
“I’m here once again to underline that we are with you, to give you the strategic endurance that you will need. And we are going to continue to help intensify sanctions on Putin’s regime,” he added.
“We will continue, as we have from the beginning, to provide the military equipment and of course now the training that may be necessary to go with that new equipment,” he said.
Johnson’s trip to Kyiv came a day after French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi and Romanian president Klaus Iohannis visited Zelenskyy in the Ukrainian capital. EFE