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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is making his first visit to the UK today since Russia invaded his country nearly a year ago, Downing Street has confirmed. He will use the surprise visit to see Ukrainian troops being trained by the British armed forces. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans for the British Armed Forces to train Ukrainian pilots, paving the way for them to be able to fly sophisticated NATO-standard jets.
The surprise visit will see Mr Zelensky meet the Prime Minister, visit Ukrainian troops being trained in the country and address the House of Commons later today.
More than 10,000 Ukrainian troops have been trained at bases throughout the UK – some on Challenger 2 tanks that Britain is sending to Ukraine.
Britain is one of the biggest military backers of Ukraine and since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, has sent the country more than £2billion worth of weapons and equipment.
This is also only his second international trip since the start of the war with Russia.
Mr Sunak said: “President Zelensky’s visit to the UK is a testament to his country’s courage, determination and fight, and a testament to the unbreakable friendship between our two countries.
“Since 2014, the UK has provided vital training to Ukrainian forces, allowing them to defend their country, protect their sovereignty and fight for their territory.
“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.
“It also underlines our commitment to not just provide military equipment for the short term, but a long-term pledge to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine for years to come.”
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