After his visit to London, the Ukrainian president is due to travel to Brussels for a summit with EU leaders

UK announces new sanctions against Russia's military during Zelensky visit

PHOTO/TWITTER Ruslan Stefanchuk @r_stefanchuk - Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky landed this morning at London's Stansted Airport, where he was welcomed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

On board a British Royal Air Force (RAF) military aircraft, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky landed this morning at London's Stansted Airport, where he was welcomed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Zelensky is visiting the UK on his first trip to the country since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began almost a year ago. In London, in addition to meeting Sunak, the Ukrainian leader will hold talks with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace and with British military chiefs.

During his stay in the UK, Zelensky is also scheduled to address Parliament and visit Ukrainian troops undergoing military training by the British armed forces at a base in England. 

As the British premier said, "President Zelensky's visit to the UK is a testament to his country's courage, determination and struggle", as well as a reflection "of the unbreakable friendship between our two countries".

London has promised Kiev more training programmes for Ukrainian pilots and marines, as well as new sanctions against individuals and companies close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Sunak government is also prepared to supply Ukraine with 'longer-range' weapons in order to counter 'Russia's ability to continually attack Ukraine's civilian infrastructure' and 'ease pressure on Ukrainian fronts'

Along with the US, the UK is one of Ukraine's most important military partners. Since the war began, London has sent Kiev more than 2 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) in arms and equipment, according to AP figures. Among the weapons supplied by the UK to Ukraine are Challenger 2 battle tanks.

New sanctions against Russia's military industry and Kremlin elite

In addition to military support for Ukraine, Western leaders have imposed tough sanctions against Russia. Taking advantage of Zelensky's visit to the UK, the British government has announced new sanctions against 'Russian military and Kremlin elites'.

As the executive has pointed out in a statement, the sanctions are aimed at six entities that "provide military equipment, such as drones" to the Russian army during the invasion of Ukraine, as well as eight individuals and one company connected to financial networks that help "maintain wealth and power among Kremlin elites"

The sanctioned individuals include Boris Titov, Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs' Rights; Nikolay Egorov, former vice-president of Russia's largest private oil refinery; Sergei Rudnow, owner of the pro-Kremlin media outlet Regum; Svetlana Krivonogikh, shareholder of Bank Rossiya; and Viktor Myachin, owner of Aerostart, a Russian aircraft maintenance and repair company. Also among those sanctioned is Russian billionaire Svetlana Krivonogikh, Putin's alleged admirer and mother of one of his daughters, according to The Guardian.

All these names, according to the British government, are "connected to Putin's luxury residences, including the 100 billion rouble 'Putin Palace' and Putin's lakeside Dacha"

On the other hand, the sanctioned companies are CSTM RT-Komplekt, Oborologistics, Universalmash and Lipetsk and Topaz, all of which are involved in the Russian military sector and the "illegal invasion of Ukraine".

"These new sanctions accelerate the economic pressure on Putin, undermining his war machine to help Ukraine prevail," said Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. The head of British diplomacy has assured that Russia "will not have access to the frozen assets until it puts an end, once and for all, to its threats to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity". "We cannot let it succeed. We must step up our support," he added.

After London, Zelensky is due to travel to Brussels

This is Zelensky's second trip abroad since the war in Ukraine began. In December, the Ukrainian president visited the United States, where he met with President Joe Biden, as well as other senior Ukrainian officials, and addressed Congress.

Sunak, meanwhile, visited Kiev in November, just a month after becoming prime minister following the resignation of Liz Truss. In the Ukrainian capital, the Conservative leader reaffirmed London's support for Ukraine. 

After the UK, Zelensky is expected to visit Brussels, an EU diplomat told Reuters. The Ukrainian president is scheduled to take part in a summit with other European leaders and address the European Parliament in an extraordinary session.