New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak paid a surprise visit to kyiv

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Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky received him at the Government Palace and highlighted the ”Powerful alliance” between the two countries since Russia launched its invasion

Zelensky received the British leader at the Presidential Palace

The new British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, arrived in kyiv on Saturdayon his first visit since taking office, according to Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky. “Since the first days of the war, Ukraine and the UK have been the most powerful allies,” the Ukrainian president wrote on Telegram, posting a video of his meeting with Sunak in kyiv.

“We discuss the most important issues both for our countries and for global security,” Zelensky added.

Sunak made it clear that his government will also support the Ukrainians: Britain knows what it means to fight for freedom, we are with you to the end.”

“It is a great satisfaction to be with you in your country today,” Sunak said with Zelensky, in the video released by the Ukrainian presidency. “The courage of the Ukrainian people is an inspiration to the world,” he stressed. “We will tell our grandchildren their story, how a proud and sovereign people faced a terrible attack, how they fought, how they sacrificed, how they won,” he added.

“With friends like you by our side, we are confident of our victory”, replied the Ukrainian.

During his visit, Sunak confirmed that the UK will strengthen Ukraine's air defenses in through a major aid package estimated at 50 million pounds (about 60 million euros) to “protect Ukrainian civilians and critical national infrastructure from an intense bombardment of Russian attacks.”

Specifically, these are 125 anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter drones supplied by Iran, including dozens of radars and anti-drone electronic warfare capability.

Before Rishi Sunak, the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the European response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, an endorsement that was maintained by his successor, Liz Truss, who lasted just 44 days in office.

As the second largest donor behind the United States, the United Kingdom has allocated 2.3 billion pounds (2.55 billion euros) in military assistance to Ukraine and plans to maintain it in 2023, along with some 400 million (460 million euros) in aid humanitarian.

Russian bombings

The visit comes as Russia continues to attack Ukrainian territory. According to the new balance, the Russian bombings damaged “almost half” of the Ukrainian energy network since October and left millions of people without electricity when winter arrived. “Almost half of our energy system was out of service,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmygal said Friday at a press conference in kyiv together with the Vice President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis.

To face this situation, Chmygal asked for “additional support” from the European Union (EU) for “the purchase of additional volumes of gas”.

Russia bombards the Ukraine's energy infrastructures since October and the Russian Defense Ministry assured that all targets, both military and energy, had been destroyed. The latest attacks occurred on Thursday and coincided with the first snowfall. Authorities warned of “difficult” days ahead, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 10 million users were without power.

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