Breaking news : Zelensky to meet the King as he lands in UK

Volodymyr Zelensky and Rishi Sunak during the Prime Minister's visit to Kyiv in November last year


Britain to train Ukrainian fighter pilots

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, will meet the King during his visit to Britain today, the Telegraph understands.

Zelensky to meet the King at Buckingham Palace

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet the King at Buckingham Palace this afternoon, royal aides have confirmed, writes Victoria Ward, our Royal Editor.

The Royal family have been vocal supporters of Ukraine’s plight.

Last March, during a visit to Southend-on-Sea, Essex, following the killing of local MP Sir David Amess, Charles, then Prince of Wales, said he has been deeply moved by the bravery of Ukrainians faced with “terrible aggression” from Russia.

He said: “What we saw in the terrible tragedy in Southend was an attack on democracy, on an open society, on freedom itself,” the Prince of Wales said. “We are seeing those same values under attack today in Ukraine in the most unconscionable way. In the stand we take here, we are in solidarity with all those who are resisting brutal aggression.”

Later that week, both he and Camilla, now Queen Consort, visited the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London, as Russian attacks on key cities intensified.

The King told how he and his wife had been moved by all they had heard on their visit and “above all by the extraordinary bravery, generosity and fortitude of the Ukrainian community in the face of such truly terrible aggression”.

It comes after the Prince and Princess of Wales  met Mr Zelensky and his wife, First Lady Olena Zelensky, at the palace in October 2020. 

Zelensky lands at Stansted at start of UK visit

A Royal Air Force C-17 carrying Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has landed at Stansted airport.

The C-1 7 that carried Volodymyr Zelensky on the tarmac at Stansted airport
The C-1 7 that carried Volodymyr Zelensky on the tarmac at Stansted airport CREDIT: BBC

Russian prisoners threatened with fresh criminal cases for refusing to join Wagner

Inmates in Russian prisons who refuse to join the notorious Wagner mercenary group are being threatened with fresh criminal charges, lawyers have warned.

“The operatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the FSB arrive, promise to raise old cases – 10-20 years old – for which the statute of limitations has already passed,” lawyer Yana Gelmel told Russia’s Proekt news site.

The threats of legal action are meant to “scare” the prisoners into signing up with the mercenaries, the lawyer said.

Visiting officials have also reportedly promised to close the cases of those who choose to go to war.

Fire breaks out at Russian oil refinery near Ukrainian border

A fire broke out on Wednesday at an oil refinery in Russia’s southern Rostov region near the border with Ukraine and was later extinguished, state media reported.

“In Rostov Region, Novoshakhtinsk city … a message was received at 10.24am Moscow time about a fire on the territory of an oil products processing plant,” the ministry said.

The fire broke out over an area of about 100 square metres and was extinguished around an hour later, Interfax news agency reported, adding that the small refinery belonged to a company called Resource LLC.

Novoshakhtinsk is about 6 miles from the Ukrainian border. Another refinery in Novoshakhtinsk was struck by two drones last June, in what the plant called “terrorist actions from the western border”, a reference to Ukraine.

Wednesday’s fire was the second in two days to hit a Russian refinery, following an incident on Tuesday at a Lukoil unit in Nizhny Novgorod, east of Moscow

Britain to train Ukrainians to become fighter pilots

Downing Street has announced plans to expand training for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to sea and air – including fighter jet pilots and marines – and accelerate the supply of military equipment.

The training would ensure pilots are able to fly sophisticated Nato-standard fighter jets in the future, it said in a statement.

Calls to send Ukraine Western-made fighter jets like the F-16 have intensified in recent weeks, after Ukraine’s pleas for main battle tanks were answered.

Zelensky’s visit ‘a testament to his country’s courage’, says Sunak

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, has hailed Volodmyr Zelensky’s surprise trip the UK.

“President Zelensky’s visit to the UK is a testament to his country’s courage, determination and fight, and a testament to the unbreakable friendship between our two countries,” he said in a statement.

“Since 2014, the UK has provided vital training to Ukrainian forces, allowing them to defend their country, protect their sovereignty and fight for their territory.

“I am proud that today we will expand that training from soldiers to marines and fighter jet pilots, ensuring Ukraine has a military able to defend its interests well into the future. It also underlines our commitment to not just provide military equipment for the short term, but a long-term pledge to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine for years to come.”

Zelensky to meet UK defence chiefs

During his visit to the UK, Mr Zelensky will also meet British defence and security chiefs to discuss details of the expanded training programme.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce that Britain will begin training Ukrainian marines immediately.

That training will be in addition to the existing programme which has seen 10,000 Ukrainian troops trained for battle in the last six months. 

Volodymyr Zelensky heading to Britain for surprise visit

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, is travelling to the UK for the first time since Russia’s invasion began.

The Ukrainian leader will address parliament and meet Rishi Sunak at Downing Street.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce that Britain will send Ukraine longer-range weapons.

Mr Sunak will also unveil an expanded training programme for Ukrainian troops, including training Ukrainians to become fighter pilots.

Biden promises steadfast support for Ukraine

Joe Biden has promised that the United States will support Ukraine for as long as it takes to fight off the Russian invasion.

“We’re going to stand with you, as long as it takes. Our nation is working for more freedom, more dignity, more peace – not just in Europe, but everywhere,” Mr Biden said, addressing Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington, Oksana Markarova, who was in attendance at the president’s State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

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