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Zelensky visits UK parliament amid new UK training pledge


LONDON — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the British Parliament on Wednesday in a surprise visit following Britain’s pledge to train Ukrainian fighter pilots.

This is Zelensky’s first visit to the UK since the Russian invasion nearly a year ago. The Ukrainian leader addressed the British parliament via video last year, where he received a standing ovation.

Since the invasion, Zelensky has rarely traveled outside Ukraine. His first international trip was in December when he traveled to Washington to address a joint session of Congress and rally for continued American support.

Zelensky receives standing ovation, calls for more support in speech to British parliament via video

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office also announced plans on Wednesday to bolster military support, including training Ukrainian fighter pilots and marines.

“As part of today’s talks, the Prime Minister will offer to bolster the UK’s training offer for Ukrainian troops, including expanding it to jet fighter pilots to ensure Ukraine can defend its airspace well into the future,” Downing Street said in a statement.

Zelensky will hold talks with Sunak and with the defense and security chiefs as part of talks on the training offer for Ukrainian troops, Sunak’s office said, describing the visit as “proof of the unbreakable friendship” between the countries.

“Since 2014, the UK has provided essential training to the Ukrainian armed forces, enabling them to defend their country, protect their sovereignty and fight for their territory.

“I am proud that today we will extend that training from soldiers to marines and fighter jet pilots, so that Ukraine has an army capable of defending its interests well into the future.”

Downing Street also said Britain will announce further sanctions on Wednesday that will target “those who helped Putin build his personal wealth, and companies that profit from the Kremlin’s war machine.”

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