Today marks the first anniversary of the bloody war in Ukraine and the UK and allies are pledging to stand with Kyiv and support them for as long as is needed.
The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will lead a minute’s silence at 11 am on Friday morning and G7 leaders are to meet to discuss the war.
Sunak is urging world leaders to “move faster” to provide more weaponry to Ukraine as Vladimir Putin’s war continues to rage with no end in sight.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said in Kyiv on Friday morning, it “has been a year of tears,” adding, “On February 24, millions of us made a choice.
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“Not a white flag, but the blue and yellow one.
Not fleeing, but facing. Resisting & fighting.
“It was a year of pain, sorrow, faith, and unity. And this year, we remained invincible. We know that 2023 will be the year of our victory!”
Vitali Klitschko, the Mayor of Kyiv and a former heavyweight champion boxer, said, that “we believe in ourselves and our country. Therefore, we will overcome everything and win.”
On February 24, millions of us made a choice. Not a white flag, but the blue and yellow one. Not fleeing, but facing. Resisting & fighting.
It was a year of pain, sorrow, faith, and unity. And this year, we remained invincible. We know that 2023 will be the year of our victory! pic.twitter.com/oInWvssjOI
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 24, 2023
Sunak will host members of the Ukrainian armed forces in Downing Street, including the ambassador Vadym Prystaiko, will hang a blue and yellow wreath on the door of No 10.
He said, “As we mark one year since a full-scale war broke out on our continent, I urge everyone to reflect on the courage and bravery of our Ukrainian friends who, every hour since, have fought heroically for their country.
“I am proud that the UK has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine through this horrific conflict.
“As I stand with brave Ukrainian soldiers outside Downing Street today, my thoughts will be with all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom and return peace to Europe.”
Boris Johnson, who was Prime Minister when the war began, has become a vocal advocate of the need to send jet fighters to the Ukrainians.
Johnson said, “Now is the time to give President Zelensky the tools the Ukrainians need to finish the job.
“The last year has taught us that sooner or later, the West gives the Ukrainians what they need. And if that is the choice – sooner or later – let’s make it sooner, for the sake of Ukraine and the world.
“A swift Ukrainian victory is the humane, compassionate and economically sensible outcome.”
On Friday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that the country’s support “is as firm and unstinting today as it was on that dark day one year ago”.
The Labour leader met with Mr Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital recently.
He said: “As we mark this solemn anniversary and look ahead to the coming months, we must do the same. Regardless of what other political disagreements we may have, we stand in lockstep with the Government on this issue.
“No-one should ever have to face the hardship and loss that the Ukrainian people have over the last year. Their fight for democracy, freedom and liberty in the face of tyranny is also our fight. Standing with our Nato allies, we will ensure Putin’s defeat and Ukraine’s victory.”
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