Ukraine says its military has retaken the entire region around the capital, as Russia has withdrawn from key towns. Speaking with Ukraine’s president, the UK Prime Minister also acknowledged the “immense suffering being inflicted on civilians”, Downing Street said.
Sharing details of the conversation with Mr Zelensky, the UK PM tweeted: “This evening I spoke to President @ZelenskyyUa. I congratulated his brave armed forces for pushing back Russia’s invading army, but recognise the huge challenges they face and terrible suffering being inflicted on Ukraine’s civilians.
“The UK will continue to step up military, economic and diplomatic support, including further ramping up sanctions to increase the economic pressure on Putin’s war machine while Russian troops remain on Ukrainian territory.”
Mr Johnson also updated Mr Zelensky on a recent military donor conference convened by the UK with 35 countries.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Zelensky described the UK as a “powerful ally” and added: “We look forward to the donors’ conference for Ukraine.”
Among the areas abandoned by Russia around the capital is Hostomel airport, as well as key battleground towns around the capital of Irpin and Bucha.
As Moscow’s forces retreat, evidence of civilian killings is mounting. In Bucha, a street has been found with at least 20 dead bodies of men in civilian clothes.
Both leaders agreed on the importance of “continuing to ratchet up sanctions to increase the economic pressure” on Russian president Vladimir Putin, as long as Russian troops remained on Ukrainian territory.
Mr Johnson also updated Mr Zelensky on the progress made at a military donor conference and “committed to continue to step up defensive support”, the spokesperson added.
Ukraine’s deputy defence minister said Saturday the Kyiv region had been “liberated” from Russian forces.
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