(The Hill) – U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson met face-to-face with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday, a surprise visit that marks the latest show of solidarity with the former Soviet state as it continues efforts to beat back a Russian invasion.
Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of the office of the president of Ukraine, confirmed on Facebook that Zelenskyy and Johnson met.
“Right now, Boris Johnson’s visit to Kyiv began with a tete-a-tete meeting with President Zelenskyy,” Sybiha wrote. “Great Britain is a leader in Ukraine’s defense support. Leader in the anti-war coalition. Leader in sanctions against the Russian aggressor.”
In his own post to the social media outlet, Zelenskyy said that Johnson is “one of the most principled opponents of the Russian invasion” and a “leader in sanctions pressure.”
A Downing Street spokesperson told The Washington Post that the British leader traveled to Ukraine to show “solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehemmer also met with Zelenskyy on Saturday, according to the Ukrainian leader.
“Discussed with Karl Nehammer strengthening sanctions pressure on Russia, supporting the energy, oil embargo on the aggressor, our EU membership. The world must do everything it can to stop war. We appreciate Austria’s support on this journey,” Zelenskyy wrote on Facebook, in a post showing the two at a press conference together.
“Thank you for the open and honest conversation and the friendly welcome in Kyiv @ZelenskyyUa,” Nehemmer said on Twitter. “Austria knows what the Ukrainian people are currently suffering. We will help where we can to alleviate humanitarian suffering and end this war.”
The arrival of the British and Austrian leaders comes one day after several other European leaders came to meet with Zelenskyy.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Commission Vice President Josep Borrell Fontelles both met with the Ukrainian president on Friday.
“Indeed, I started my day today with a visit to Bucha because being in Bucha and seeing what has happened, you can tell that our humanity was shattered in Bucha,” von der Leyen said during a press conference on the day.
“And it is right and just that the world has voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.”
The leaders promised to provide an added 500 million euros for the Ukrainian military and start on a sixth wave of sanctions.