Boris Johnson visits Kyiv on Ukraine’s Independence Day

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Announcing the visit on Twitter, 10 Downing Street shared an image of Johnson speaking with Zelensky outside the Mariinsky Palace in Kiev and added Johnson’s message: “Ukraine can and will win this war.”

Johnson has been one of Ukraine’s most vocal supporters as it tries to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked attack, and the trip on Wednesday marked his third visit to the Ukrainian capital since the war began in late February.

He became one of the first foreign leaders to make the precarious trip to the Ukrainian capital in late April, returning in June for another surprise visit. Downing Street said Wednesday’s visit was Johnson’s last trip to Ukraine before stepping down next month.

While many foreign leaders and other top officials have traveled to Ukraine in recent months, Johnson stands out as one of the most frequent visitors. Polish President Andrzej Duda has also visited Kiev three times this year.

Johnson has forged a close relationship with Zelensky, who said he regretted the British Prime Minister’s departure from office when the ruling Conservative party forced him to resign in July.

On Wednesday, Zelensky handed Johnson a parting gift, awarding him the Order of Freedom for “the work Boris has done for our country and all of Europe.”

“Ukraine is lucky to have a friend, not everyone is lucky,” Zelensky said, adding that the help it has received from the UK “really brings us closer to victory.”

The UK has poured more than £2.3 billion ($2.71 billion) in military and financial aid to Ukraine since the invasion began, according to a Downing Street statement.

On Wednesday, the British government announced it will provide Ukraine with minehunting vehicles and drones worth £54 million ($63.5 million). It also said it will send Ukraine minehunting vehicles designed to help locate mines in the water and train Ukrainian personnel on how to use them in British waters in the coming weeks.

Johnson was not the only foreign official to visit Kiev on Wednesday. Portuguese Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho visited earlier in the day and said on Twitter that it was “an honor and privilege to be here on such an important day for Ukraine. Count on the full solidarity and support of Portugal!”

Johnson and Gomes Cravinho traveled to Ukraine despite warnings that Moscow could choose to step up the attacks because of Ukraine’s Independence Day.

Zelensky himself had previously warned Ukrainians to be extra careful on Independence Day, stressing in his late-night speech on Tuesday that “horrible Russian provocations and brutal strikes are possible”.

Niamh Kennedy, Benjamin Brown, Radina Gigova and Karem Smith of CNN contributed to this article.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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