King Charles praises 'determination and strength' of Ukrainian people 'in the face of indescribably aggression' on second anniversary of Putin's invasion
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The King has praised the ‘determination and strength’ of the Ukrainian people in a message marking the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

The monarch said: ‘Theirs is true valour, in the face of indescribable aggression’.

Charles III added he is ‘greatly encouraged’ by the efforts of the UK and its allies in supporting Ukraine ‘at this time of such great suffering and need’.

He said: ‘The determination and strength of the Ukrainian people continues to inspire, as the unprovoked attack on their land, their lives and livelihoods enters a third, tragic, year.

‘Despite the tremendous hardship and pain inflicted upon them, Ukrainians continue to show the heroism with which the world associates them so closely.

The King (pictured with the Queen) has praised the 'determination and strength' of the Ukrainian people in a message marking the second anniversary of Russia's invasion

The King (pictured with the Queen) has praised the ‘determination and strength’ of the Ukrainian people in a message marking the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion

The King (pictured meeting President Zelensky) has paid tribute to Ukraine's strength on the second anniversary of Russia's invasion

The King (pictured meeting President Zelensky) has paid tribute to Ukraine’s strength on the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion

He said: 'The determination and strength of the Ukrainian people continues to inspire, as the unprovoked attack on their land, their lives and livelihoods enters a third, tragic, year'

He said: ‘The determination and strength of the Ukrainian people continues to inspire, as the unprovoked attack on their land, their lives and livelihoods enters a third, tragic, year’

‘Theirs is true valour, in the face of indescribable aggression. I have felt this personally in the many meetings I have had with Ukrainians since the start of the war, from President Zelensky and Mrs Zelenska, to new army recruits training here in the United Kingdom.

‘I continue to be greatly encouraged that the United Kingdom and our allies remain at the forefront of international efforts to support Ukraine at this time of such great suffering and need.

‘My heart goes out to all those affected, as I remember them in my thoughts and prayers.’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak joined other world leaders in reaffirming support for Ukraine on the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion, vowing to back Kyiv ‘until they prevail’.

The Prime Minister said ‘tyranny will never triumph’ as President Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops defend the country against an emboldened Moscow.

The UK has pledged to invest £245 million in producing artillery shells for Ukraine and £8.5 million in humanitarian funding as the conflict enters its third year.

Saturday marks two years since the Kremlin launched its attack on Ukraine, starting the biggest incursion in a European country since the Second World War.

Mr Sunak, who visited Kyiv last month to sign a new security agreement and announce an increase in military funding for the country, said on Friday: ‘When (Russian President Vladimir) Putin launched his illegal invasion two years ago, the free world was united in its response.

‘We stood together behind Ukraine. And on this grim anniversary, we must renew our determination.

‘I was in Kyiv just a few weeks ago and I met wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Each harrowing story was a reminder of Ukraine’s courage in the face of terrible suffering.

‘It was a reminder of the price they are paying not only to defend their country against a completely unjustified invasion, but also to defend the very principles of freedom, sovereignty and the rule of law on which we all depend.’

He added: ‘This is the moment to show that tyranny will never triumph and to say once again that we will stand with Ukraine today and tomorrow.

‘We are prepared to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, until they prevail.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who hopes to enter Number 10 after the general election this year, said Britain would always support Ukraine ‘no matter who is in power in this country’ and added that Mr Putin’s ‘cowardice and barbarity’ will not prevail.

Sir Keir said: ‘The resistance of the Ukrainian people has inspired and humbled the world. The UK and our allies will stand in solidarity with them until their day of victory.

Boris Johnson visits the town of Borodianka, heavily damaged during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in 2022

Boris Johnson visits the town of Borodianka, heavily damaged during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in 2022

A young child holds up a 'Save Ukraine' sign during a march in Whitehall

A young child holds up a ‘Save Ukraine’ sign during a march in Whitehall

‘We will not waver. We will not abandon them. We will not be divided in the face of tyranny or oppression.

‘We look together to the day when Ukraine secures justice and liberty in their rightful homeland, when Ukrainians can return home and rebuild their great country, and live peacefully, freely and proudly.’

European countries are struggling to find enough weapons and ammunition to send to Kyiv, and US help worth 60 billion dollars (£47 billon) is stalled over political differences in Washington.

Ukrainian forces withdrew from the strategic eastern city of Avdiivka at the weekend, where they had battled a fierce Russian assault for four months despite being heavily outnumbered and outgunned.

Kyiv has kept up strikes behind the front line but moved to a defensive posture amid critical shortages on the battlefield.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps was asked whether the funding package announced on Saturday was enough.

‘That £245 million is just a fraction of the £2.5 billion we’re giving in direct aid and military assistance this year… but ammunition is the thing that Ukraine desperately needs at the moment,’ he said.

Mr Shapps echoed concerns raised by Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron over the progress of the US funding package through Congress, where it faces an uphill battle as hardline Republicans in the House of Representatives oppose the legislation.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived in Kyiv today, where he joined a number of allies who have come to show solidarity with Ukraine as the war enters its third year.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, this morning Johnson said: ‘On this grim second anniversary of Putin’s invasion I am honoured to be here in Ukraine.

‘With their indomitable courage I have no doubt that the Ukrainians will win and expel Putin’s forces – provided we give them the military, political and economic help that they need.’

He shared a photo of him standing with Zelenskyy in Borodianka, Kyiv region in January last year on one of numerous visits to the war-torn state.

It came as Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrived in Kyiv to preside over a virtual meeting on Ukraine with G7 to discuss new sanctions against Russia.

Johnson announced on X he was in Ukraine today, sharing this picture from January last year

Johnson announced on X he was in Ukraine today, sharing this picture from January last year

Ukraine president Zelensky pictured during a Joint meeting in Kyiv, 24 February 2024

Ukraine president Zelensky pictured during a Joint meeting in Kyiv, 24 February 2024

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arriving in Kyiv on February 24, 2024 to preside over a G7 virtual meeting on Ukraine on the second anniversary of the Russian invasion

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arriving in Kyiv on February 24, 2024 to preside over a G7 virtual meeting on Ukraine on the second anniversary of the Russian invasion

Johnson’s premiership saw record support for Ukraine, Britain quickly becoming the second-largest donor after the United States.

The former prime minister has maintained strong relations with Ukrainian leader Zelenskyy since leaving office.

Ninety minutes after resigning in July 2022, Johnson called Zelenskyy to say his people had the UK’s unwavering support in its fight against Russia, and said Britain would continue to supply vital aid for as long as needed.

Johnson, who held the top role when Russia invaded on February 24, 2022, travelled to Ukraine a year after stepping down to receive an honorary degree from the University of Lviv.

His arrival today coincides with a virtual summit of G7 leaders due to take place at Kyiv’s Saint Sophia Cathedral later Saturday with Zelenskyy attending.

Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo arrived in Kyiv today to take part in the G7 summit.

They travelled with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on an overnight train from neighbouring Poland.

Their presence was designed to underline the West’s commitment to helping Ukraine even as it suffers growing shortages of military supplies, impacting its performance on the battlefield where Moscow is grinding out territorial gains.

Von der Leyen wrote on the social media platform X that she was in Kyiv ‘to celebrate the extraordinary resistance of the Ukrainian people’. She added: ‘More than ever, we stand firmly by Ukraine. Financially, economically, militarily, morally. Until the country is finally free.’ 

British prime minister Rishi Sunak also voiced support for Ukraine’s plight in an address to mark the second anniversary.

The Prime Minister declared that ‘tyranny will never triumph’ as he said Britain will do ‘whatever it takes, for as long as it takes’ to help them win.

Mr Sunak said: ‘When Putin launched his illegal invasion… the free world was united in its response.

‘We stood together behind Ukraine. And on this grim anniversary, we must renew our determination.

‘This is the moment to show that tyranny will never triumph and to say once again that we will stand with Ukraine today and tomorrow. We are prepared to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, until they prevail.’

The prime minister visited Kyiv last month to sign a new security agreement and announce more military funding for Ukraine.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden also announced 500 new sanctions targeting Russia’s ‘financial sector, defence industrial base and procurement networks’ in light of the shock death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a grisly Arctic penal colony on February 16.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a presentation in Kazan, February 22, 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a presentation in Kazan, February 22, 2024

The US also imposed sanctions following news of the death of Alexei Navalny on February 16

The US also imposed sanctions following news of the death of Alexei Navalny on February 16

The new restrictions were described as ‘crushing’ by a high-level State Department official on Thursday, who also claimed they would target officials ‘directly involved in Navalny’s death’. Moscow still denies involvement in the shock death last Friday.

The US will also impose new export restrictions on nearly 100 entities for providing support to Russia and take action to further reduce Russia’s energy revenues, Biden said in a statement.

‘They will ensure Putin pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home,’ the president said of the sanctions.

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