Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to the United Kingdom on Wednesday. While there, he met with national leaders and addressed Parliament to ask for further assistance in helping secure victory over Russia.
Speaking to both houses of Parliament, Zelensky told lawmakers that "freedom will win — we know Russia will lose," per BBC News, adding that the U.K. could help Ukraine secure "the most important victory of our lifetime" by providing the country with additional jet fighters and weapons.
"I will be leaving Parliament today thanking all of you in advance for powerful English planes," Zelensky said.
This sentiment was echoed by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said on Twitter, "There is nothing to be lost and everything to be gained by sending planes now."
Zelensky also stopped at 10 Downing Street to meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and also had an afternoon meeting with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.
Zelensky's visit comes as Ukraine nears the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion. While some Western allies have been reluctant to provide aid, The Washington Post noted that the U.K. is "the largest donor of military assistance to Ukraine after the United States."
A recent parliamentary briefing paper cited by the Post showed the U.K. has provided $2.8 billion in aid to Ukraine since the war began, and has pledged to match that figure in 2023.
The U.K. will not be the only leg of Zelensky's tour of European allies. He is slated to travel to Paris to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, according to a statement from the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Other media outlets have also reported that Zelensky will meet with additional European leaders in Brussels on Thursday.