UK defence secretary meets Volodymyr Zelenskiy in surprise trip to Kyiv

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Uk Defence Secretary Meets Volodymyr Zelenskiy In Surprise Trip To Kyiv Uk Defence Secretary Meets Volodymyr Zelenskiy In Surprise Trip To Kyiv
Ben Wallace, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Sam Blewett, PA Deputy Political Editor

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace made a secret visit to Kyiv to hold discussions with president Volodymyr Zelenskiy on sending further military support to Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said they spoke during the previously unannounced trip about continuing to aid the resistance against Russia, “as the conflict enters a different phase”.

Officials would only say that the two-day visit took place “this week” and it was unclear whether they discussed the Britons condemned to death for fighting Russian forces.

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UK ministers are under pressure to secure the release of Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, after the judgment by a Russian proxy court on Thursday.

A video on Mr Zelenskiy’s Telegram channel showed Mr Wallace tell the president during the visit in recent days “you’re doing amazing”.

The president replies: “We do it together.”

Mr Wallace, who also held discussions with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov, wanted to hear “first-hand” how the army’s requirements are “developing as the nature of the conflict continues to change”.

“This will ensure that the UK’s continued support is evolving to meet those requirements and is tailored to the situation on the ground,” the MoD said.

“The three agreed to work even more closely going forward in support of their shared goal of enabling Ukraine to liberate itself from illegal Russian occupation.

“They also discussed the range of equipment and training the UK is currently providing and what further support we can offer to help Ukrainian forces to defend their country.”

Mr Zelenskiy presented him with what appeared to be a signed and framed collection of “Russian warship, go f*** yourself” stamps.

The slogan has become a symbol of the national resistance after a Ukrainian guard defending Snake Island in the Black Sea dismissed an attacking ship with the words.

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