Rishi Sunak makes surprise visit to meet Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv; Kyiv in a ‘critical situation’ with power shortages, say officials
Rishi Sunak made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday to meet Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy – Sunak’s first visit to the country since taking office.
Sunak announced that Britain will provide a £50m air defence package for Ukraine, including anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter Iranian-supplied drones.
Zelenskiy thanked Sunak, for his support and tweeted: “With friends like you by our side, we are confident in our victory. Both of our nations know what it means to stand up for freedom.”
Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said at least 437 Ukrainian children have been killed and more than 837 injured as a result of Russia’s invasion.
Five people were injured in a Russian strike on a humanitarian station in southern Ukraine, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior aide to Zelenskiy.
Nine people, including four children, died after a suspected gas explosion in a residential building in Russia’s Sakhalin island, the local governor said.
About 60 Russian soldiers were killed in a long-range Ukrainian artillery attack this week, Kyiv said on Saturday. In a Facebook post, the armed forces general staff said Russia suffered the losses on Thursday when Ukrainian forces shelled the town of Mykhailkva, 40km to the south of Kherson. Russian forces abandoned the city earlier this month.
Kyiv is in a “critical situation” with power shortages and faces hours-long blackouts, officials say, amid Russian attacks on energy infrastructure. But the energy ministry said on Saturday that Ukrainian electricity supplies were under control and there was no need to panic.
Zelenskiy said on Saturday that the supply problems were worst in and around Kyiv as well as in six other regions. “We are working throughout the country to stabilise the situation,” he said in a video address.
Ukrainian forces could be in Crimea by the end of December, the country’s deputy defence minister, Volodymyr Havrylov, has said.
The UK Ministry of Defence has released its latest intelligence update on the war Ukraine. Russia made its largest single-day issuance of debt in history on Wednesday, it said.
Moscow had not officially contacted Kyiv about peace negotiations, but Russia would have to completely withdraw its forces for talks to take place, said Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian presidential chief of staff.
The first passenger train to the recently liberated Kherson city arrived from Kyiv for the first time since Russian troops occupied the southern Ukrainian city.
The funeral took place on Saturday of a Polish man who was one of two victims killed when a missile crashed into a grain storage facility in the Polish village of Przewodow.
The US defence secretary, Lloyd Austinm said China and Russia were seeking a world where force is used to resolve disputes and he vowed the United States would continue to defend humanitarian principles and international law.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a political adviser to the Ukrainian president, has dismissed “conspiracy theories” about his country surrendering. “Ukraine will not kneel to Russians.”
Asia-Pacific leaders added their voices on Saturday to international pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, issuing a summit statement saying “most” of them condemned the war.