UK’s James Cleverly visits Kyiv to reaffirm support for Ukraine

The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, travelled to Kyiv on Thursday to meet the Ukrainian leadership and promise the UK’s support for as long as it takes to defeat Russia’s brutal efforts to break the country’s resolve.

In his first visit to Ukraine since his appointment as foreign secretary, Cleverly presented a package of support including money for the reconstruction of schools, ambulances, the victims of sexual violence, and grain sales to the world’s poorest markets, such as Sudan and Yemen.

With Kyiv under regular bombardment, his visit, which follows a trip to the Ukrainian capital by Rishi Sunak on Saturday, was conducted with a high level of security.

The new Conservative leadership is eager to reassure the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, that Boris Johnson’s departure from No 10 will not lead to waning levels of British moral, military, and financial support.

Cleverly said: “As winter sets in, Russia is continuing to try and break Ukrainian resolve through its brutal attacks on civilians, hospitals, and energy infrastructure. Russia will fail.

“Our support will continue for as long as it takes for this remarkable country to recover.”

Cleverly said the bulk of the infrastructure funding would go to newly liberated areas in southern Ukraine such as Kherson.

This week, Johnson, speaking at a CNN Portugal event, urged the west to meet Ukraine’s calls for fixed-wing aircraft to help it strike back against the Iranian-supplied drones that are hitting its infrastructure.

Apart from meeting most of the Ukrainian political leadership, Cleverly is also due to visit a refugee centre and a school that is due to reopen shortly after being rebuilt by volunteers, including parents and teachers, with UK support. He will also see UK embassy staff and people working to protect human rights in Ukraine.

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