Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made his first visit to the United Kingdom since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began nearly a year ago. The British government has stated that Zelenskyy will hold discussions with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, address the Parliament, and meet with UK military chiefs.

Ukrainian President Visits UK for Talks on Military Support

The UK is one of Ukraine’s largest military supporters, providing over $2.5 billion in weapons and equipment to the country. During the visit, Prime Minister Sunak announced that Britain will train Ukrainian pilots on NATO-standard fighter jets. Although Ukraine has urged its allies to provide them with jets, the UK has stated that it is not practical to do so.

More than 10,000 Ukrainian troops have also received training at UK bases, including some on Challenger 2 tanks that the UK is providing. Sunak has emphasized the UK’s long-term commitment to standing with Ukraine and providing the country with a military capable of defending its interests.

Zelenskyy has made only two confirmed trips outside of Ukraine since the war began, the other being a visit to the United States in December. He may be seeking pledges of advanced weapons from the West ahead of potential offensives by both Russia and Ukraine.

There are increasing expectations that Zelenskyy may also make his first visit to the European Union institutions during the war. A special plenary session has been scheduled in Brussels for Thursday, with the hope that the Ukrainian leader will attend following his trip to Britain.

Meanwhile, Russian forces have launched major assaults in eastern Ukraine, with Ukrainian officials believing that it may be part of a new offensive by the Kremlin before the invasion anniversary. Russian troops are focusing their efforts on gaining full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the industrial east of Ukraine. The ultimate goal of the Kremlin is believed to be full control of the Donbas region, which would give Russian President Vladimir Putin a significant battlefield victory.

Despite a Ukrainian counteroffensive last summer that recaptured large areas from Russia, the war has been largely stagnant in recent months. Russian forces are now attempting to break through Ukrainian lines in several towns in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.