Sunak vowed to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine for years to come’.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is visiting the UK today for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion. He will address Parliament and meet Rishi Sunak in Downing Street.

It was Zelensky’s second trip outside his country since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago, following a visit to Washington DC in December.

The Prime Minister will use the opportunity to announce that Britain is expected to send long-range weapons to Ukraine. Mr. Sunak is expected to unveil an expanded training program for Ukrainian troops, including training Ukrainians to become fighter pilots.

The visit is likely to upset Russia’s Vladimir Putin, whose Kremlin has stepped up its military rhetoric in recent weeks.

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Moscow has warned against supplying warplanes to Ukraine, saying it would be a clear indication of direct Western involvement in the war.

Commenting on Mr Zelensky’s surprise visit, the prime minister hailed the Ukrainian president’s “courage”. “President Zelensky’s visit to the UK is a testament to his country’s courage, determination and fight, and a testament to the unwavering friendship between our two countries,” Mr Sunak said in a statement ahead of the visit.

He added: “Since 2014, the UK has provided vital training to Ukrainian forces, allowing them to defend their country, defend their sovereignty and fight for their territory.

“I am proud that today we will extend that training from soldiers to marines and fighter jet pilots, so that a Ukrainian military will be able to protect its interests in the future. It underscores not only our commitment to providing military equipment in the short term, but also our long-term commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine for years to come.

During the visit, Mr Zelensky will see his country’s troops being trained by the British armed forces, with Mr Sunak announcing that Britain will begin training Ukrainian marines.

That training will be in addition to an existing program that has trained 10,000 Ukrainian troops for combat in the past six months.

It comes as US President Joe Biden pledged that the US would support Ukraine as long as it takes to fight Russian aggression.

“We’re going to stand with you, as long as it takes. Our nation is working for more freedom, more dignity, more peace – not just in Europe, but everywhere”, said Mr. Biden, Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington, Oksana Markarova, who attended a presidential State of the Union address. Joint session of Congress on Tuesday.