Ukraine hails British leadership as UK defence minister visits Kyiv

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's President Zelenskiy visits Kharkiv region

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed British leadership and its assistance for Kyiv against Russia's invasion during talks on Friday with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace in the Ukrainian capital.

Wallace, visiting Kyiv two months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson, praised Zelenskiy for his own leadership during a war in which Britain has provided Ukraine with weapons and financial assistance and has imposed sanctions on Russia.

"I am grateful in general to Great Britain, the government and the prime minister," Zelenskiy, looking relaxed in a dark T-shirt, told Wallace at the presidential headquarters. "The war highlights who is our friend or friends – not just strategic friends, but real friends now. And I believe Great Britain is a friend."

"Arms, money and sanctions – these are three things in which Great Britain consistently demonstrates its leadership," he said.

Wallace said Zelenskiy was "doing amazing, amazing."

He visited Kyiv a day after two Britons and a Moroccan were sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic - whose separatist leaders are backed by Moscow - after being captured while fighting for Ukraine.

The presidential press service did not day whether Zelenskiy and Wallace had discussed the trial. Britain has described the court's decision as a "sham judgment" and Ukraine has said the ruling has no authority.

Ukrainian officials have been seeking more help from the West, including quicker deliveries of artillery and battlefield rocket systems. The presidential press service did not say whether Wallace and Zelenskiy had discussed such requests.

(Reporting by atalia Zinets, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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