Boris Johnson has praised the bravery of Ukraine’s armed forces in pushing back the Russian army from areas they had previously occupied.
In his latest phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the prime minister vowed to provide his country with more military support.
However, he also acknowledged the “huge challenges that remain and the immense suffering being inflicted on civilians”.
The talks took place as images emerged of the death and destruction caused by Russian forces since they invaded Ukraine at the end of February.
There were multiple reports of men, women and children being tied up and murdered by retreating Russian troops, while images showed bombed out and destroyed civilian areas.
Meanwhile, the ministry of defence said the Russian navy was likely to blame for mines in the Black Sea which were “posing a serious risk to maritime activity” in the area.
Following the call between Johnson and Zelenskyy, a Downing Street spokesperson said: [The prime minister] congratulated Ukraine’s brave armed forces for successfully pushing back Russia’s invading army in a number of areas, but recognised the huge challenges that remain and the immense suffering being inflicted on civilians.
“The prime minister updated President Zelenskyy on the progress made at last week’s military donor conference, convened by the UK with 35 countries, and committed to continue to step up defensive support.
“President Zelenskyy underscored the urgency of Ukraine’s fight for its survival as a free and democratic nation and the importance of international assistance.”
The spokesperson added: ”Both leaders agreed on the importance of continuing to ratchet up sanctions to increase the economic pressure on Putin’s war machine, so long as Russian troops remain on Ukrainian territory.
“They committed to remain in close contact and speak again in the coming days.”
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