Ukraine: UK embassy in Kyiv to reopen next week, says PM

The British embassy in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv will reopen next week, Boris Johnson has announced.

The prime minister said the diplomatic mission would open its doors again, after its closure shortly before Russia’s invasion.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Ambassador Melinda Simmons would return to the city after leaving because of the “serious security situation”.

European diplomats have also been returning to the capital.

The prime minister made the announcement at a news conference in Delhi, where he has been holding talks with Indian leader Narendra Modi.

Mr Johnson visited Kyiv earlier this month to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky, following a pledge to give £100m worth of weapons to Ukraine.

Taking questions from reporters, the prime minister said it was sadly a “realistic possibility” when asked if he agreed with intelligence that the Russian bombardment could continue to the end of next year, and with Russian victory.

He said: “[Vladimir] Putin has a huge army. He has a very difficult political position because he’s made a catastrophic blunder.

“The only option he now has, really, is to continue to try to use his appalling, grinding approach driven by artillery, trying to grind the Ukrainians down.”

“I think no matter what military superiority Vladimir Putin may be able to bring to bear in the next few months, and I agree it could be a long period, he will not be able to conquer the spirit of the Ukrainian people.”

The prime minister also said he was looking at what the UK could do to “backfill” weapons in countries, such as Poland, “who may want to send heavier weaponry to help defend the Ukrainians”.

“We’re looking at sending tanks to Poland to help them, as they send some of their T-72s [tanks] to Ukraine and other steps like that,” Mr Johnson said.

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