Ukraine – live: Volodymyr Zelensky to visit Britain today in bid for arms boost

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Cats and dogs rescued from frontline by Ukrainian volunteers

Volodymyr Zelensky will visit Britain today, Downing Street said, as he pushes for more weapons supplies to defend against an expected offensive by invading Russian forces.

In what will be only his second trip abroad since Vladimir Putin ordered the Ukraine invasion nearly one year ago, Mr Zelensky is set to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss a boost in arms supplies and a new training programme for jet fighter pilots.

Mr Zelensky will also address the parliament in London and observe training exercises his troops are conducting at British military bases, Downing Street said.

Western countries have dramatically scaled up their pledges of military support for Ukraine in recent weeks, including promises of hundreds of tanks. Kyiv still wants longer range missiles and war planes.

Ukraine’s presidential office has not confirmed the trip to Britain, which was announced by London at short notice.

In a statement, Mr Sunak said: “I am proud that today we will expand that training from soldiers to marines and fighter jet pilots, ensuring Ukraine has a military able to defend its interests well into the future.”


Volodymyr Zelensky lands in UK

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Liam James8 February 2023 10:25

Russia planning new offensive, could target Kharkiv or Zaporizhzhia

Top Ukrainian officials including President Volodymyr Zelensky have said Moscow will attempt to mount another major offensive with newly mobilised troops in the coming weeks as the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion on 24 February nears.

Ukraine’s national security chief Oleksy Danilov said in an interview on Tuesday that the Kremlin is expected to target the northeastern Kharkiv or southern Zaporizhzhia regions in a new thrust.

“They need to have something to show before their people, and have a major desire to do something big, as they see it, by this date,” Mr Danilov said.

After Russia failed to capture the Ukrainian capital Kyiv last year and lost ground in the second half of 2022, Moscow is now making full use of hundreds of thousands of troops it called up in the autumn in its first mobilisation since World War Two.

The last few weeks have seen Russia boast of its first gains for half a year. But the progress has been incremental, with Moscow yet to capture a single major settlement in its winter campaign despite losing thousands of troops.

Mr Danilov echoed earlier predictions by Kyiv that Russia still wants to capture all of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east that Moscow claimed as its own territory last year in referendums dismissed by Ukraine and the West as a sham.

<p>A Ukrainian serviceman of the artillery unit of the 80th Air Assault Brigade confirms the positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk</p><p>” height=”726″ width=”982″ layout=”responsive” class=”i-amphtml-layout-responsive i-amphtml-layout-size-defined” i-amphtml-layout=”responsive”><i-amphtml-sizer slot=

A Ukrainian serviceman of the artillery unit of the 80th Air Assault Brigade confirms the positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk

Liam James8 February 2023 10:15

Zelensky in surprise visit to UK – first since Russia invasion

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will make his first visit to the UK since Russia’s invasion of his country today, Downing Street has said (Adam Forrest writes).

No 10 said the surprise visit would see the war leader meet Rishi Sunak and address MP in parliament later on Wednesday.

The prime minister also announced plans to train Ukrainian fighter jet pilots as part of a long-term UK investment in its ally.

Mr Sunak said on Wednesday that he was “proud” to announce an expansion in training from soldiers to fighter jet pilots and marines, “ensuring Ukraine has a military able to defend its interests well into the future”.

Liam James8 February 2023 09:47