UK support for Ukraine will ‘not waver’, Johnson tells Zelensky

The Prime Minister also welcomed news of a UN-brokered deal to get grain out of Ukraine.

22 July 2022

Boris Johnson spoke to Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday, telling the Ukrainian president that UK support will “not waver” regardless of who becomes the next prime minister.

The Prime Minister also welcomed news of much-anticipated deal to get grain out of Ukraine, amid hopes that the agreement can avoid a global food crisis.

In a call between the two leaders, Mr Johnson “stressed the UK’s ongoing determination to support the Ukrainian people and said that resolve will not waver, no matter who becomes the next UK prime minister”.

Loading grain into holds of sea cargo vessel in Odessa, Ukraine
Grain being loaded into holds of a sea cargo vessel in Odessa. The agreement brokered by Turkey and the UN will allow exports to resume (Alamy/PA)

A Downing Street spokeswoman said, “President Zelensky thanked the PM for his staunch support for Ukraine, and for his kind words in his last address to Parliament.

“The Prime Minister outlined the recent steps the UK has taken to bolster Ukraine’s resistance, including training thousands of Ukrainian troops in the UK.

“The UK is working to expand this training effort, including through the involvement of international partners. President Zelensky said the military support being provided by the UK and others is making a real difference in the conflict.

“The Prime Minister welcomed today’s announcement of a UN-brokered deal to get grain out of Ukraine via the Black Sea and end Russia’s blockade. Both the Prime Minister and President Zelensky stressed the need for the deal to be implemented in full by all parties.”

Russia and Ukraine on Friday signed separate agreements with Turkey and the United Nations to clear the way for exporting millions of tons of desperately needed Ukrainian grain as well as Russian grain and fertiliser.

The moves end a stand-off that had threatened food security around the world.

Mr Johnson, who has been a staunch supporter of the Ukrainian fight against Russia, also spoke with Mr Zelensky about plans to host Eurovision and the treatment of UK prisoners being held by Russian-backed forces.

“The leaders discussed their ongoing concern about the treatment of prisoners being held by Russian-backed forces in Ukraine, including those of British nationality. The Prime Minister thanked President Zelensky for his government’s efforts to date to secure detainees’ freedom,” the spokeswoman said.

“The Prime Minister paid tribute to the role President Zelensky has played and must continue to play in upholding a fair and proper judicial system in Ukraine.

“The Prime Minister and President Zelensky talked about the ongoing discussions about the hosting of Eurovision next year. The Prime Minister stressed that wherever Eurovision is held it must be an event which celebrates and honours the country and people of Ukraine.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Friday also praised the efforts of Turkey and the UN to help reach the deal on grain, saying that Vladimir Putin’s “barbaric invasion of Ukraine has meant some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world are at risk of having nothing to eat”.

“It is vital that Ukrainian grain reaches international food markets, and we applaud Turkey and the UN Secretary General for their efforts to broker this agreement,” she said.

“The UK and our allies have been pushing hard to reach this point.

“Now this agreement must be implemented, and we will be watching to ensure Russia’s actions match its words. To enable a lasting return to global security and economic stability, Putin must end the war and withdraw from Ukraine.”

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