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Home » Ukraine news live: 'Significant damage' after Russian attack on air base; 10 humanitarian corridors agreed for today | Ukraine latest – Sky News

Ukraine news live: 'Significant damage' after Russian attack on air base; 10 humanitarian corridors agreed for today | Ukraine latest – Sky News

Ukraine latest as an airstrike on a train station kills dozens while thousands wait to evacuate; attack condemned by world leaders; western official says Russian forces are abandoning tanks amid a hasty withdrawal in the north that may indicate a “collapse of will”.
In a news conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Ukraine has show “the courage of a lion”, and that Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been the “roar”.
Mr Johnson also said sanctions will “ratchet up” and the UK will move away from Russian hydrocarbons.
By Rob Powell, political correspondent
“Remember, Winston Churchill wanted to go out to watch the D-Day Landings, and the King had to stop him at first”, said one Tory who predicted earlier this week that Boris Johnson – whose hero is the wartime leader – would go to Ukraine.
Rumours the prime minister wanted to make the trip began to emerge last month after three Eastern European leaders met with President Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
The way the news broke may not have been according to plan though, with a photo – that appeared to have been hastily taken – tweeted out by the Ukrainian embassy.
The accompanying caption of “surprise” along with a ‘winky emoji’ added to the informality.
But while the means of communication was somewhat haphazard, the message was strong.
Boris Johnson has always had a keen eye for a symbolic moment, and this one matters on a number of levels.
Internationally, it sends a powerful message to both Vladimir Putin and the Ukrainian people about the UK’s commitment to the country.
We will see whether the optics are backed up with the heavy weapons that the administration in Kyiv desire.
But amid public support for Ukraine here, the visit is also good politics on the home front.
President Zelenskyy today described Boris Johnson as “one of the most principled opponents of the Russian invasion”.
For a prime minister and a government that haven’t had many glowing reviews recently, this one will be especially welcome.
Boris Johnson has released a statement from his visit to Kyiv today, revealing the UK will send another 120 armoured vehicles and anti-ship missile systems to Ukraine.
He said: “It is a privilege to be able to travel to Ukraine and meet President Zelenskyy in person in Kyiv today. 
“Ukraine has defied the odds and pushed back Russian forces from the gates of Kyiv, achieving the greatest feat of arms of the 21st century. 
“It is because of President Zelenskyy’s resolute leadership and the invincible heroism and courage of the Ukrainian people that Putin’s monstrous aims are being thwarted. 
“I made clear today that the United Kingdom stands unwaveringly with them in this ongoing fight, and we are in it for the long run.   
“We are stepping up our own military and economic support and convening a global alliance to bring this tragedy to an end, and ensure Ukraine survives and thrives as a free and sovereign nation.”  
Tobias Ellwood MP, chair of the Commons defence select committee, has described the prime minister’s visit to Ukraine as a “powerful message directly to Putin that we won’t be intimidated”.
He also told Sky News that countries such as the UK, Poland and Slovakia are “breaking away from NATO’s self-imposed limits” by offering greater military support to Ukraine.
Leaders from all three nations have visited Kyiv this weekend to step up their support.
Continuing to criticise NATO, Mr Ellwood stressed that “what happens in Ukraine is the security of Europe”.
“I called for a division of NATO to go in prior to the invasion, but NATO didn’t want to know. And I think they’re now regretting that decision,” he said.
“So seeing the prime minister step forward, take some leadership, because much of NATO is consolidated within the NATO architecture that they’ve left Ukraine outside of that support.”
Boris Johnson has tweeted about his surprise visit to Ukraine, referring to his Ukrainian counterpart as his friend.
He described Russian military activity in the country as “barbaric”.
Sky News defence analyst Professor Michael Clarke has described Boris Johnson’s surprise visit to Kyiv as a “coup for the Ukrainians and for Downing Street”.
“I suspect they haven’t said anything they haven’t already said on the phone in recent weeks, but the fact they’re saying it face to face is quite important,” he said.
“Boris Johnson is the most significant of the diplomatic players in the West to make the journey – he’s the first of the big four, France, Germany, the US and the UK.
“He’s going to Kyiv when some of the embassies are coming back into Kyiv, it’s part of the process of showing the West gives full diplomatic support to the Ukrainian government.”
Earlier today the Italian embassy announced it would be reopening its doors in Kyiv straight after Easter.
Intelligence officials have confirmed Russian forces have left the north of the country completely for the south and the east.
Boris Johnson posed with his Ukrainian counterpart in the capital Kyiv after the two men held talks.
Pictures show Volodymyr Zelenskyy showing Mr Johnson around Kyiv’s presidential district and shaking hands in front of their countries’ flags.
Meanwhile Mr Zelenskyy posted on Facebook: “The prime minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson is one of the most principled opponents of the Russian invasion, a leader in sanctions pressure on Russia and defense support of Ukraine. Welcome to Kyiv my friend.”
More information on the PM’s surprise visit to Ukraine now.
A spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said their meeting is still ongoing.
He said the talks between them are due to last for half an hour before a wider bilateral meeting with other diplomatic staff present.
Meanwhile Ukraine’s defence ministry has praised Mr Johnson for being the first G7 leader to visit Ukraine.
They tweeted: “Be brave, like Boris. Be brave, like Ukraine.”
The EU is pledging one billion euros to support Ukraine and countries receiving refugees fleeing the war, Ursula von der Leyen has confirmed.
“Six hundred million of those will go to Ukraine, to the Ukrainian authorities and partially to the United Nations,” Ms von der Leyen said at a fundraising event for Ukraine in Warsaw. 
“And 400 million euros will go to the frontline states that are doing such an outstanding job and helping the refugees that are coming,” she added.

The EU Commission president has just returned from Ukraine where she visited Bucha.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has re-tweeted the image from the Ukrainian embassy.
Downing Street has now confirmed Boris Johnson is in Ukraine as a show of solidarity and to discuss the UK’s long-term commitment to the country’s fight against Russia.
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