UK’s Keir Starmer vows ‘unwavering’ support in surprise Ukraine visit
The U.K. opposition party leader calls for ‘justice in The Hague’ after visiting sites of Russian massacres.
Labour leader Keir Starmer vowed that Ukraine will always have his party’s “unwavering support” as he made a surprise visit to Kyiv Thursday.
The U.K. opposition boss — who polls suggest is on track to become Britain’s next prime minister — met Volodymyr Zelenskyy on his first visit to the war-torn capital since Russia’s invasion nearly a year ago.
Before his meeting with the Ukrainian president, Starmer traveled to Bucha — site of the mass murder of civilians — and Irpin, which was devastated by Russian bombardment. He met with experts in human rights and reconstruction.
“It’s incredible to see the evidence of atrocities that I’ve seen this morning. Photographs of civilians in the outskirts of Kyiv blindfolded, with their arms tied behind their back,” he told U.K. broadcaster ITV. “There has to be justice in The Hague and there has to be proper reparation in the rebuilding of Ukraine.”
The visit comes a week after Zelenskyy was welcomed to the U.K., where he made a fresh case for Ukraine to be provided with fighter jets for its battle against Russia.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak traveled to Ukraine in November, shortly after taking office, while Sunak’s predecessor-but-one Boris Johnson, a frequent visitor, made his own impromptu trip even after leaving No.10 Downing Street.
The U.K. political response to the invasion of Russia by Ukraine has been strikingly non-partisan.
Speaking in the House of Commons last week, Starmer used the normally-combative round of prime minister’s questions to stress his own party’s “full support” for Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces.