Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed British lawmakers and met with King Charles on Wednesday in his first trip to the United Kingdom since Russia’s invasion of his country. Zelensky later arrived in France to meet with the French president and German chancellor. He’s now set to go to a European Council summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday.
Here are the latest headlines:
United Kingdom visit: During his address in the Houses of Parliament, Zelensky repeated his call for Western allies to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine. According to the UK’s PA Media news agency, the United Kingdom is “actively” considering whether to send British jets to Ukraine. But warnings from the Russian embassy in London warned the UK against providing the jets due to what it said would produce “military and political ramifications” for the whole world.
Zelensky then met with King Charles III, who told him that he’s “been worried” about him and Ukraine as the war rages on. Zelensky then arrived at a British military facility where he met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian troops being trained on Challenger 2 tanks. Then later on Wednesday at a joint news conference, Sunak announced the first Challenger 2 battle tanks will arrive in Ukraine next month. Following the joint news conference, Zelensky said Ukraine and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on a “powerful defense package.”
France visit: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized their support for Ukraine during a joint news conference held Wednesday. Macron and Scholz affirmed to Zelensky that the countries will continue to provide military aid to Ukraine.
Ground developments: Russian shelling appears to be increasing in parts of the Kharkiv region recaptured by Ukrainian forces last September, as well as in other areas of northern Ukraine. Near the town of Semenivka in the northern Chernihiv region, two Ukrainian civilians were killed Wednesday in a missile strike.
Military assistance: The first battalion of Leopard 2 tanks delivered by Western allies could reach Ukraine by March or April of this year, according to German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. During the joint press conference with Sunak, Zelensky said Ukraine will be “intensifying our diplomacy” in regard to the request for Eurofighter typhoon jets. And while at the British military facility, Zelensky said his battlefield priorities are for Ukraine to obtain more armored vehicles, longer-range missiles and fighter jets. Two hundred Ukrainian troops are currently being trained in the United Kingdom by Australian soldiers, according to the Australian Department of Defence. Seventy Australian soldiers were deployed to the UK to begin taking part in a UK-led and based training program for Ukrainian recruits, which the Australian Department of Defence refers to as “Operation Kudu.”