European leaders arrive in Ukraine to show solidarity

LONDON (AP) – Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehamer joined the stream of European leaders showing their support for Ukraine by traveling to the nation’s capital on Saturday for one-on-one meetings with President Volodymyr Zelensky. Went.

Johnson’s impromptu visit included a pledge of new military aid, including 120 armored vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems. It came a day after he promised to send an additional 100 million pounds ($130 million) of high-grade military equipment to Ukraine, saying Britain wanted to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression.

Johnson also confirmed further funding, guaranteeing an additional $500 million in World Bank loans to Ukraine, taking Britain’s total loan guarantees to $1 billion.

“Today I met my friend President Zelenskyu in Kyiv as a demonstration of our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine,” Johnson said on Twitter. “We are establishing a new package of financial and military assistance that is a testament to our commitment to their country’s struggle against Russia’s barbaric campaign.”

The head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andrey Yermak, said “the talks were rich and constructive,” but gave no details.

A photo of the two leaders meeting was posted online by the Ukrainian Embassy in London, captioned: “Surprise” and a smiling face.

Britain’s package of military aid announced on Friday includes more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, another 800 anti-tank missiles and precision warheads capable of remaining in the sky until directed to their target.

“Ukraine has defied the odds and pushed back Russian forces through the gates of Kyiv, achieving the greatest weapon of the 21st century,” Johnson said in a statement. “Putin’s monstrous objectives are failing because of President Zelensky’s resolute leadership and the unstoppable heroism and courage of the Ukrainian people.”

As Zelensky makes a relentless round of virtual appearances to garner support from lawmakers around the world, a growing number of European leaders have decided the time is right to travel to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, for personal talks. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was in Kyiv on Friday after earlier visits by Czech, Polish and Slovenian prime ministers.

Nehamer met with Zelensky on Saturday and promised the European Union would continue sanctions against Russia “until the war stops.”

“As long as people are dying, every clearance is insufficient,” he said, adding that Austrian embassy staff would return to Kyiv from western Ukraine.

Von der Leyen, the head of the EU’s executive branch, traveled to Warsaw on Saturday to lead a fundraising event for Ukraine. He was joined by Polish President Andrzej Duda, with Zelensky and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appearing by video link.

At the end of the 90-minute meeting, von der Leyen said that 10.1 billion euros ($11 billion) had been raised for Ukrainian refugees.

The event was held in Warsaw as more than 2.5 million of the 4.4 million people who fled Ukraine have entered Poland since the Russian invasion began on 24 February. Many have stayed, although some have moved to other countries.

Organized jointly by von der Leyen and Trudeau, the event sought to attract pledges from governments, global figures and average citizens.

It ended with Julian Lennon singing his father John Lennon’s peace song “Imagine”, which he said was the first time he had done so publicly.

Julian Lennon posted on social media that he always said he would only sing the song when it was “the end of the world”. He says it’s the right song to sing now because “the war on Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy,” and he felt compelled to respond in the most important way he could.


Associated Press Writers Colleen Barry in Milan, Geir Moulson in Berlin and Monica Sislowska in Warsaw contributed.

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