Kiev: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met in Kiev on Tuesday to discuss security issues, in particular Russian military buildup on the Ukrainian border, the presidential press service said.
In a joint statement after their talks, Zelensky and Johnson warned that any further Russian incursion in Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake and have a stark humanitarian cost, Xinhua news agency reported.
The leaders said that Ukraine and Britain agreed to work together to strengthen Ukraine’s security and the ability to defend itself. They also expressed their commitment to strengthen Ukraine’s energy security and support its efforts toward a green transition.
At the briefing after the talks, Zelensky said that although he does not support all the provisions of the Minsk agreements, it is the “only format that works.”
“We must do something that can de-occupy our territories in particular, protect our state in one form or another,” Zelensky said.
He also said that Britain will allocate some 2 billion British pounds (around $2.7 billion) for joint infrastructure and energy projects with Ukraine.
For his part, Johnson announced that Britain will also provide 88 million pounds (around $119 million) of new funding for Ukraine to help it reduce the reliance on Russian energy supplies.
Johnson arrived in Kiev earlier in the day for a working visit. According to local media reports, later this week, he will hold phone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Since November, Kiev and some Western countries have accused Russia of assembling heavy troops near the Ukrainian border with a possible intention of “invasion.”
Russia denied the accusation, saying that Russia has the right to mobilize troops within its borders to defend its territory as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s activities constitute a threat to Russia’s border security.