Boris Johnson was honoured with a Hollywood walk-of-fame style flagstone and received a medal for his wartime support of Ukraine on his final visit to Kyiv as Prime Minister today.
Mr Johnson, who has been one of the most vocal supporters of Ukraine’s plight in the face of Russian aggression, was awarded with the Ukrainian ‘Order of Liberty’ – the highest award that can be bestowed upon foreign nationals – in a ceremony personally led by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
After the intimate ceremony which saw Mr Johnson receive his medal and share a warm handshake with his Ukrainian counterpart, the pair toured the streets of Kyiv where the Prime Minister was shown a commemorative plaque bearing his name which was inset into the Ukrainian capital’s pavement.
The Prime Minister travelled to the Ukrainian capital on the country’s independence day, which marks 31 years since Ukraine broke free from Soviet rule.
Mr Johnson used the trip – his third to Kyiv since the start of Russia’s barbaric invasion in late February – to announce a new £54million package of British military support.
He also held a final round of face-to-face talks with Mr Zelensky, with whom he has grown close, as the country prepares to enter winter still in conflict with Russia.
Mr Johnson has less than two weeks left in office and the Government has been keen to stress – whoever succeeds him as PM out of either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak – that British backing for Ukraine will continue.
The PM today reiterated that unwavering support, which has come through the supply of humanitarian aid, help in the investigation of war crimes by Russian forces, and efforts to rebuild Ukraine’s economy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) look at a plaque dedicated to Boris Johnson on August 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine
The British prime minister, who leaves office next month, visited the Ukrainian capital as the country commemorated its 1991 independence from the Soviet Union today, and shared a warm embrace with Zelensky
A plaque bearing Boris Johnson’s name and signature has been inset into the pavement on the streets of the Ukrainian capital
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) display a new postage stamp ‘Free. Unbreakable. Invincible!’ which was made for Independence Day, during a press conference following their meeting at the Mariinsky palace in Kyiv, Ukraine, 24 August 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, awards Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022
Johnson was given Ukraine’s Honour of Freedom medal in recognition of Britain’s military assistance to the war-torn country
Order of Liberty medal presented to Prime Minister Boris Johnson today in Kyiv is pictured
The PM said: ‘For the past six months, the UK has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine, supporting this sovereign country to defend itself from this barbaric and illegal invader.
‘Today’s package of support will 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.
‘What happens in Ukraine matters to us all, which is why I am here today to deliver the message that the UK is with you and will be with you for the days and months ahead, and you can and will win.’
As part of the new package of British military support, Ukraine will be supplied with 2,000 state-of-the-art drones and anti-tank loitering munitions to help its forces better fight against Russian invaders.
Downing Street hopes this will bolster Ukraine’s long-range surveillance and defensive targeting ability.
Boris Johnson met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv today as he made another surprise visit
The PM’s visit was his third to the Ukrainian capital since the start of Russia’s barbaric invasion in late February
Mr Johnson used the trip to announce a new £54million package of British military support, including the supply of 2,000 state-of-the-art drones and anti-tank loitering munitions
The PM has been keen to stress that Britain’s staunch support for Ukraine – and Mr Zelensky – will continue whoever replaces him as PM
The package includes 850 hand-launched ‘Black Hornet’ micro-drones, which are specifically designed for use in towns and villages and are used to detect approaching enemy forces.
Each drone is smaller than a mobile phone and feeds back live video and still images to allow forces on the ground to defend urban areas safely.
Troops can be trained to fly the drones in under 20 minutes.
Britain is also preparing to give mine-hunting vehicles to Ukraine to help detect Russian mines in the waters off its coastline.
Ukrainian troops will be trained in how to use them in British waters in the coming weeks.
Downing Street has this week been decorated with flowers in Ukraine’s national colours to mark the country’s independence day
Speaking in Kyiv, Mr Johnson said Russian President Vladimir Putin had been ‘insane’ to invade Ukraine.
In a message to Britons as they face a cost-of-living crisis made worse by the war in Ukraine, the PM added: ‘If we’re paying in our energy bills for the evils of Vladimir Putin, the people of Ukraine are paying in their blood.’
He also hailed how, ‘like one of those indomitable Ukrainian boxers’ the country ‘came off the ropes’ and hit the Russian President ‘with an uppercut that sent Putin’s armies reeling from Kyiv and a hook to drive him from Kharkiv’.
‘Out of the ashes of your towns and cities, out of the monstrous scares that are being left by Putin’s missiles, something beautiful is blooming and it is a flower that the whole world can see and admire, and that is the incomparable will of the Ukrainians to resist,’ Mr Johnson continued.
Britain has so far committed more than £2.3billion of military and financial aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began earlier this year.
It comes as British defence secretary Ben Wallace claimed Russia has lost 80,000 troops since the invasion began on February 24.
‘We pretty much accept, well, we do accept, the sort of observations of Russian losses to be – if you combine deaths, injuries, desertions – over 80,000 of their armed forces,’ he said.
‘That’s 80,000 in six months compared to 15,000 they lost in a decade in Afghanistan.’