Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a rare trip outside his war-torn nation to visit the UK on Wednesday, during which he spoke before Britain’s Parliament.
“We know Russia will lose and we we know victory will change the world,” Zelensky told lawmakers in London.
The surprise trip is Zelensky’s second out of Ukraine and first to Britain since Russia invaded its sovereign neighbor on February 24.
Just before Christmas, Zelensky traveled to the U.S., where he met with President Biden and spoke before Congress, saying, “Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”
Zelensky’s words to Congress came after then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had warned that there would be no “blank check” for Ukraine aid when the Republicans took majority of the House on January 3. “We want to make sure there’s accountability for everybody, the money that is spent,” McCarthy has said.
According to an assessment by the Department of Defense on January 6, “In total, the United States has committed more than $24.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.”
Britain has recently pledged to increase its support for Ukraine and help train fighter pilots and marines. Already the UK has sent Ukraine more than £2 billion, or $2.5 billion, worth of weapons and equipment.
“I thank you for your bravery….London has stood with Kyiv since Day One,” Zelensky told lawmakers in Parliament.
The Ukrainian leader arrived on a Royal Air Force plane in London on Wednesday. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak greeted Zelensky on the tarmac, tweeting a photo of him embracing the Ukrainian leader.
Later in the day, Zelensky met with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace. The Ukrainian President called the meeting a “truly special moment” and referred to Charles’ former service in the Royal Air Force, saying, “The King is an air force pilot and in Ukraine today, every air force pilot is a king.”
Britain also announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russian military and Kremlin elites on Wednesday. It follows the European Union having announced on Friday that it would unveil its 10th package of sanctions against Russia on February 24, marking one year of Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Zelensky initially addressed the UK Parliament remotely in March, two weeks after the start of the invasion.