Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky called on allies to provide his country with air power to combat the Russian invasion, in an historic address to the British parliament.

 "I appeal to you and the world... for combat aircrafts for Ukraine, wings for freedom," he told lawmakers of the lower and upper houses of the British parliament.

Zelensky, who arrived in the UK earlier Wednesday to meet the British Prime Minister and King Charles, said in parliament's ancient Westminster Hall: "We know freedom will win, we know Russia will lose.

 "The United Kingdom is marching with us towards the most... important victory of our lifetime. It will be a victory over the very idea of the war." 

 The UK government said on Wednesday it would offer advanced training for Ukrainian fighter jet pilots and marines, as Western allies debate stepping up military aid for Kyiv against a feared new Russian offensive in the east.


 Britain has stopped short, however, of offering Kyiv its Typhoon and F-35 fighter jets saying it would require months if not years of training.

 Zelensky, dressed in his usual green fatigues, was hugged by Sunak after landing on a military transport plane at Stansted airport north of London, before the pair met for talks at 10 Downing Street.

"The United Kingdom was one of the first to come to Ukraine's aid," Zelensky said on social media.

Zelensky to Brief UK’s New Cabinet on Ukraine War Developments
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Zelensky to Brief UK’s New Cabinet on Ukraine War Developments

Zelensky will be the first official visitor to Downing Street since Keir Starmer became PM, and the first foreign leader to address Cabinet in person since US President Bill Clinton in 1997.

 "And today I'm in London to personally thank the British people for their support and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for his leadership."

 In a statement, Downing Street said: “President Zelensky's visit to the U.K. is a testament to his country's courage, determination and fight, and a testament to the unbreakable friendship between our two countries.”

 It added that the UK was planning "to train fighter jet pilots and marines" from the Ukrainian armed forces.

 "The leaders will discuss a two-pronged approach to UK support for Ukraine, starting with an immediate surge of military equipment to the country to help counter Russia's spring offensive, and reinforced by long-term support," it added.


 "As part of today's talks, the prime minister will offer to bolster the UK's training offer for Ukrainian troops, including expanding it to fighter jet pilots to ensure Ukraine can defend its skies well into the future."

 Zelensky will also visit Ukrainian troops currently training in the U.K., the statement said.

 A current programme had already trained 10,000 Ukrainian troops "to battle readiness" over the past six months and would train a further 20,000 this year.

 The newly announced training offer would "ensure pilots are able to fly sophisticated NATO-standard fighter jets in the future", the statement added.

 Sunak will also "offer to begin an immediate training programme for marines", it said.

 After London, EU officials hope Zelensky will visit Brussels on Thursday, in the buildup to the one-year anniversary on Feb. 24.

 Zelensky's trip is only his second outside Ukraine since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion in February of last year, having visited the U.S in December.

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