Zelensky donates Ukrainian pilot’s helmet during visit to UK
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gifted Britain a flight helmet worn by Ukrainian fighter pilots as he thanked MPs “in advance” for future jets they might provide in the war against Russia.
In a surprise visit, Mr Zelensky addressed Parliament today and appealed to MPs to “give freedom wings” by providing his air force with advanced jets.
The President of Ukraine presented the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, with a helmet that read ‘We have freedom, give us wings to protect it’.
He thanked Britain “in advance” for fighter jets and urged western allies to further tighten sanctions against Russia.
Earlier, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to train Ukrainian pilots to pave the way for them eventually being able to fly sophisticated Nato-standard jets, but that is seen as a long-term goal.
Mr Zelensky said he wanted a coalition of nations to deliver aircraft. He said: “I appeal to you and the world with simple yet important words: fighter jets for Ukraine, wings for freedom.”
He added: “Thank you for your attention, thank you for your support. And when I left the British Parliament two years ago, I thanked you for delicious English tea.
“And I will leave Parliament today thanking you all in advance for powerful English aircraft.”
In other parts of his speech to MPs, Zelensky praised the “strong British character” during his impromptu trip and took time to thank former Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the support he was showing as Russia launched its invasion.
He said: “London has stood by Kiev since day one, from the first seconds and minutes of full-scale war, Britain you reached out your helping hand when the world still didn’t understand how to respond.
“Boris: You united others when it seemed absolutely impossible. Thank you very much.”
The Ukrainian president told MPs that “freedom will prevail” and that Russia will lose, and that the defeat of Putin’s forces could deter attackers around the world.
Mr. Zelensky will meet King Charles III later that afternoon. meet.
Shadow Secretary of State David Lammy said after his speech to Parliament that Mr Zelensky was the “embodiment of the bravery of the Ukrainian people”.
“Inspirational speech by Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Parliament. He embodies the courage, dignity and bravery of the Ukrainian people,” he tweeted.
“The whole House and the whole of the UK stand united against (Vladimir) Putin’s bloody and illegal war. Ukraine must win.”