LONDON – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will be in London on Wednesday to meet the UK prime minister, as Britain announces new training programs for fighter pilots and marines.
Zelensky’s surprise visit included a trip to see Ukrainian soldiers trained by the British Armed Forces and a speech to the UK Parliament.
This is his second foreign visit since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The Ukrainian leader had also been expected to meet with EU leaders in Brussels later this week, but Monday’s leak of plans threw that stop into doubt.
In a statement on Wednesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the UK will now train pilots to operate NATO-standard fighter jets and naval forces. It comes alongside an expansion of UK training Ukrainian recruits from 10,000 to 20,000 troops this year.
The new training program shows Britain’s commitment “to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine for years to come,” Sunak said.
During their talks, Sunak is expected to offer the Ukrainian president his support for long-range arms and Zelensky’s plan to work towards peace, No 10 Downing Street said.
“President Zelensky’s visit to the UK is a testament to his country’s courage, determination and fight, and a testament to the unwavering friendship between our two countries,” Sunak added.
The UK will announce further sanctions on Wednesday in response to Russia’s continued bombing of Ukraine, the Prime Minister’s Office said.