Outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that households across the UK and Europe have to endure the cost-of-living crisis to counter Russian aggression against Ukraine.
During a visit to the capital Kyiv to mark the country’s independence day, Johnson said the West must “stay the course” on Ukraine despite rising living costs, driven by the war.
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He said while energy bills were high “the people of Ukraine are paying in their blood” for Russia’s “evils”.
He has also announced a further £54m military support package for Ukraine
BBC reports: A close ally of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr Johnson was making his third visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded six months ago.
He claimed Western unity on Ukraine was “growing” despite reports of waning support among European countries as rising energy prices cripple the global economy.
In the UK, the inflation rate is forecast to hit a 42-year high of 13.3% this year, while the economy is expected to shrink for more than a year.
The Bank of England said the main reason for high inflation and low growth was rising energy bills, fuelled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
European countries have accused Russia – a major global supplier of energy – of using gas as a weapon by limiting supplies in response to sanctions.
Mr Johnson acknowledged Western countries had paid a heavy price, including the UK, where Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “ruinous war” had sent energy bills skyrocketing.
“We know the coming winter will be tough and Putin will manipulate Russian energy supplies to try to torment households across Europe,” Mr Johnson said. “Our first test as friends of Ukraine will be to face down and endure that pressure.”
During the trip, he vowed that Ukraine “can and will win this war” against a “barbaric and illegal invader”.
The prime minister also announced a further £54m military support package for Ukraine.
This includes 2,000 drones and loitering munitions which Downing Street said would help Ukraine “to better track and target invading Russian forces”.
The UK is one of the leading donors of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russian targets prosecuting or linked to the war.
It is likely to be Mr Johnson’s final visit to the country as UK prime minister, as he is due to leave office on 6 September.
Mr Johnson said the UK military aid would “give the brave and resilient Ukrainian Armed Forces another boost in capability, allowing them to continue to push back Russian forces and fight for their freedom”.
He was presented with the Order of Liberty – Ukraine’s highest award that can be given to foreign nationals.
And, appearing with Mr Johnson in Ukraine’s capital, Mr Zelensky unveiled a plaque for the UK prime minister on the “alley of bravery” outside the Ukrainian parliament.
In a Facebook post, Mr Zelensky said he was “glad to welcome” Mr Johnson who he described as “a great friend of Ukraine”.
He thanked the UK prime minister for “the uncompromising support of our country from the first days of full-scale Russian aggression, for the steadfast defence of Ukraine’s interests in the international arena!
“Our country is lucky to have such a friend!”
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