Former Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson on Sunday made an unexpected visit to Ukraine, where he met with President Vladimir Zelensky and promised his country’s support in the war against Russia.

Boris, who at one time was the prime minister Russia attacked Ukraine declared in late February 2022 that the UK “will stick with Ukraine for as long as it takes”.

In this photo provided by the Office of the President of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) and former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talk during a meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023.
(Press service of the President of Ukraine via AP)

“You’re going to win and drive all the Russians out of your country, but we’re going to be there for a long time,” Johnson said. “And we also want to help you with the reconstruction.”

During the trip, the ex-prime minister visited Barodyanka and Bucha, suburbs of Ukrainian capital which witnessed some of the most horrific atrocities of the war.

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Kyiv Oblast Governor Alexey Kuleba told Johnson that more than 160 residents were killed in Boredyanka during the month-long Russian occupation of the city last year, although about 60% of residents have since returned.

In Kyiv, President Zelensky and senior officials, including the foreign minister, lined up to personally greet the former British prime minister.

In this photo provided by the Office of the President of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walk after a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 17, 2022.

In this photo provided by the Office of the President of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walk after a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 17, 2022.
(Press service of the President of Ukraine via AP)

While in office, Johnson sought to position London as one of Kiev’s main allies in the West. He often visited Kiev and often called Zelensky.

Meanwhile, supporters of Ukraine on Friday, during a meeting at the Ramstein air base in Germany, promised to provide military aid to Ukraine in the amount of billions of dollars. International defense leaders have been discussing Ukraine’s urgent request for Leopard 2 tanks, and the failure to hammer out a deal has overshadowed the new commitment.

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“This is the moment to double down and give Ukrainians all the tools they need to complete the work. The sooner Putin fails, the better for Ukraine and the world,” Johnson said in a statement.

Emergency workers clear debris after a Russian missile hit a high-rise building, leaving many people under the rubble, in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Saturday, January 14.

Emergency workers clear debris after a Russian missile hit a high-rise building, leaving many people under the rubble, in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Saturday, January 14.
(AP/Yugen Malaletka)

The past week has been particularly tragic for Ukraine, even by the standards of a brutal war that has lasted almost a year, as a result of which tens of thousands of people have died, millions more have been driven from their homes and Ukrainian cities have been destroyed.

A barrage of Russian rockets hit a residential complex in the southeastern city of Dnipro on January 14, killing at least 45 civilians. On Wednesday, a government helicopter crashed into the building of a kindergarten in the suburbs of Kyiv. Among the 14 killed are the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, other officials and a child who was lying on the ground.

On Sunday, Zelensky promised that Ukraine would eventually win the war.

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“We are united because we are strong. We are strong because we are united,” said the Ukrainian leader in a video address to the Day of the Unity of Ukraine, which is celebrated in memory of the unification of eastern and western Ukraine in 1919.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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