Pride of Britain! Union flag takes centre stage in Ukraine Parliament – 100k troops poised

Ukraine mocks Germany for sending helmets to Ukraine forces

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MPs in the former Soviet state brandished a collection of flags from countries that have supported Ukraine as approximately 100,000 Russian soldiers remain poised at the border. Addressing the Ukrainian legislature on Tuesday, president Volodymyr Zelensky announced the Ukrainian armed forces will be dramatically increased.

Mr Zelensky said the country will add 100,000 people over a three-year period to its armed ranks, adding that now was not the moment for the Ukrainian political leaders to lose their nerve in the standoff against Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian leader added that remaining united was key, and he was hopeful for a further round of peace talks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will touch down in the Ukrainian capital city today to meet with Mr Zelensky in a renewed show of support for the Eastern European country.

Mr Johnson was scheduled to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, but the developments around “partygate” saw the Prime Minister unable to speak with Mr Putin.

The Russian leader then spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron, with no indication of when the conversation with Mr Johnson would take place.

The Prime Minister’s visit will match up with the announcement of £88million destined for Ukraine to prop up stability in the country.

Mr Johnson said: “It is the right of every Ukrainian to determine how they are governed.

“As a friend and a democratic partner, the UK will continue to uphold Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of those who seek to destroy it.

“We urge Russia to step back and engage in dialogue to find a diplomatic resolution and avoid further bloodshed.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was supposed to fly to Kyiv alongside Mr Johnson before announcing on Twitter on Monday that she had tested positive for coronavirus.

She had announced on Monday in the Commons that the UK would be stepping up sanctions against Russia in the event of incursions into Ukrainian territory.

She told MPs the new legislation will go “further than ever before” against Mr Putin, constituting the “toughest sanction regime against Russia we have ever had”.

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She added: “Until now the UK has only been able to sanction those linked to de-stabilisation of Ukraine.

“This new legislation will give us the power to sanction a broader range of individuals and businesses.”

The Ukrainian appreciation for British efforts in the country has extended beyond political forums to public social media.

The British national anthem was once again trending on social media in Ukraine on Tuesday as it did earlier this year.

“God Save the Queen” began to pop up on Ukrainian social media as a reference to British support in January as around 100,000 Russian troops massed on the country’s border.

It followed the UK’s decision to send across 2,000 anti-tank weapons and troops to Ukraine, helping the country gear up for a defensive effort if Russia did invade.

Messages in a similar spirit popped up across social media praising the UK’s support of Ukraine.

Ben Wallace, UK Defence Secretary, told MPs last month that the UK was committed to helping Ukraine safeguard its borders.

He said: “We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light, anti-armour, defensive weapon systems.

“A small number of UK personnel will also provide early-stage training for a short period of time, within the framework of Operation Orbital, before then returning to the UK.”

Operation Orbital refers to the continuing presence of British soldiers in Ukraine for training purposes, dating back to the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.

Mr Wallace added the weapons provided to Ukraine are not strategic, but are for “self-defence, and the UK personnel providing the early-stage training will return to the UK after completing it.”

The UK’s action to support Ukrainian defence forces was delightedly received in Ukraine, with activists congregating outside the British embassy in Kyiv last month to express their support for the move.

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