War in Ukraine, day 688 | Sunak and Zelensky announce ‘unprecedented’ security deal

(Kyiv) British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, traveling to Kyiv, announced Friday the signing of a ten-year security agreement between his country and Ukraine, hailed as “unprecedented” by the president Volodymyr Zelensky.




Rishi Sunak, who wanted to send a “message” with this surprise visit, pleaded for continued Western aid, essential for Kyiv.

Any weakening of this support would “encourage” not only Russian President Vladimir Putin but also “his allies in North Korea, Iran and elsewhere,” he assured.

“If Putin wins in Ukraine, he will not stop there,” said the prime minister, promising that the country was “not alone” and would “never” be.

Kyiv is concerned that its European and American allies are hesitant, due to internal political dissensions, to grant it more aid to fight the Russian invasion.

The new head of French diplomacy, Stéphane Séjourné, is “on his way to Kyiv” where he is due to meet Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday to demonstrate French support for Ukraine.

PHOTO STEFAN ROUSSEAU, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been trying in recent weeks to remobilize his allies, praised the “unprecedented security agreement” concluded with the United Kingdom for ten years.

“This is not a simple statement. This is a reality that will come to fruition thanks to our cooperation,” he promised.

This text follows promises of bilateral agreements by G7 countries at the NATO summit in Vilnius last year.

The United Kingdom, Ukraine’s early supporter in the face of the Russian invasion, is the first country to achieve a final agreement, according to Downing Street.

Thousands of drones

Rishi Sunak also announced an increase in military aid and the delivery of thousands of drones.

“We are one of the most important supporters of Ukraine, especially when it comes to military aid,” he said.

British military aid for the year 2024/2025 will amount to £2.5 billion (approximately C$4.2 billion), an increase of £200 million on the previous two years.

It will bring the total amount of British aid to Ukraine to almost 12 billion pounds sterling (more than 20 billion Canadian dollars).

PHOTO STEFAN ROUSSEAU, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (R) met firefighters during a tour of damaged buildings in Kyiv on January 12.

This support is commensurate with “the seriousness of the situation here” and “our determination” to support Ukraine, added Rishi Sunak, stressing that this is, for this year, his first visit to the foreigner and the first of a foreign leader in Ukraine.

“Putin may think he can last longer than us, but he is wrong,” he promised.

His visit comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Thursday that any “pause” in Ukraine’s defense would only help Moscow rearm and allow it to “crush” Ukraine.

The British envelope must be used to provide long-range missiles, air defense, artillery ammunition and maritime security instruments.

At least £200 million is part of a move to “rapidly supply and produce thousands of military drones”, including “surveillance drones, long-range strike drones and maritime drones”, according to Downing Street.

According to London, this will be “the largest delivery of drones to Ukraine of any country”. Most of these aircraft will be produced in the United Kingdom.

Two dead in Russian strike in Kherson

Russian bombings have left two dead in Kherson, a large city in southern Ukraine targeted almost daily, regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said on Friday.

“The occupiers lined the city streets with artillery,” he wrote on Telegram, sharing images of burned cars and bodies on the ground.

“A woman died at the scene” and a “burned body” was found in one of the vehicles, he said.

Only the Dnieper River, a natural barrier, separates Kherson from the Moscow army, which bombards the city intensely.

It was recaptured by Kyiv forces in November 2022, after several months in the hands of Russian troops.

Across the front line in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine, local authorities said two people, including a healthcare worker, were killed and six others injured in a drone strike on Friday. Ukrainian.

“A drone from the Ukrainian armed forces hit an ambulance,” Ivan Prikhodko, the mayor of Gorlivka, a town controlled by Russia since 2014 and located about forty kilometers from Donetsk, said on Telegram.

PHOTO ARCHIVES AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The town of Gorlivka, located near the front, has been regularly hit by bombings since the start of the conflict between Kyiv and pro-Russian separatists in 2014, then Russia’s large-scale attack on Ukraine in February 2022.

According to this source, the attack took place while rescuers were treating injured people affected by a strike carried out earlier against electrical installations in the north of Gorlivka.

An emergency worker and an employee of an electricity supply company died and “six other residents” received injuries “of varying severity”, again according to the mayor.

He published a photo showing an ambulance with a dented body and a torn door.

The town of Gorlivka, located near the front, has been regularly hit by bombings since the start of the conflict between Kyiv and pro-Russian separatists in 2014, then the large-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February 2022.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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