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Johnson: We must not make Ukraine accept a bad peace

© Ukraine Presidency/ZUMA Press Wire Service/Shutterstock PM Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv monastery on Friday
PM Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv monastery on Friday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the West must continue to support Ukrainians as they seek to recover territory from Russia, amid evidence of “Ukraine fatigue” setting in around the world.

On his return to the UK yesterday after an unannounced visit to Kyiv, Johnson warned that Ukraine should not be encouraged to accept a bad peace which would simply be the prelude to a renewed Russian offensive.

Talking to reporters at RAF Brize Norton upon his return, Johnson said it was key to demonstrate the UK’s support at a time when the Ukrainians were suffering terribly in the face of the ongoing Russian offensive in the Donbas.

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“I think it is very important to go to Ukraine at a particularly critical time. The worry that we have is that a bit of Ukraine fatigue is starting to set in around the world,” he said. “It is very important to show that we are with them for the long haul and we are giving them that strategic resilience that they need.”

In his talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Johnson said Britain would be prepared to train tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops as they continued to fight back against the Russians.

Johnson said it was important to prevent the Russians freezing the conflict so they could consolidate their gains before mounting another attack. During the visit Zelensky gave him a tour of a monastery where the two leaders lit candles.

Yesterday the Ukrainian government released a video of Zelensky visiting the southern port city of Mykolaiv in a rare trip outside the capital, Kyiv.

He could be seen looking at a badly damaged residential building in the city, holding a meeting with regional officials – including the head of the Mykolaiv regional administration, Vitaliy Kim – and giving out state awards to some of them. His visit came a day after a Russian strike killed two people and wounded another 20 in the city.

Meanwhile, on Friday Zelensky announced that prominent paramedic Yuliya Payevska, aka Taira, had been freed from Russian captivity.

Using a body camera, Taira recorded her team’s efforts over two weeks to save the wounded, including both Russian and Ukrainian soldiers, in the besieged city of Mariupol, before being taken prisoner by the Russians. Her footage was shown around the world.

Zelesnky said: “Taira is already home. We will keep working to free everyone.”