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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has travelled to Kyiv to meet Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in an unannounced visit.

A picture shared by the Embassy of Ukraine to the UK on Twitter showed the pair sitting across a table in the country’s capital, with their respective flags in the room.

In the image caption, the embassy simply wrote: ‘Surprise’ with a winking emoji.

‘Boris Johnson’s visit in Kyiv began just now with a tete-a-tete meeting with President Zelensky,’ presidential aide Andriy Sybiha said on Facebook, posting the same photo of the pair.

Last month, it was reported that the Prime Minister had asked officials to examine the practicality and value of the trip to the Ukrainian capital for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart.

At the time, security officials were said to be ‘having kittens’ at the prospect of Mr Johnson travelling to a war zone.

But a Whitehall source said Mr Johnson ‘wants to go’ if it can be made to work.

The source added: ‘If you set aside the security concerns, which are considerable, the question is whether there is anything additional you could achieve by visiting in person, or whether it would just be a show of solidarity, and whether that is a sufficient goal in itself.’

Since then, Moscow has pulled its forces back from Kyiv and the surrounding area in a bid to refocus its military campaign in the eastern Donbas region.

This is a breaking news story. More to follow…

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has travelled to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky in an unannounced visit. A picture shared by the Embassy of Ukraine to the UK on Twitter showed the pair sitting across a table in the country's capital, with their respective flags in the room

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has travelled to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky in an unannounced visit. A picture shared by the Embassy of Ukraine to the UK on Twitter showed the pair sitting across a table in the country's capital, with their respective flags in the room

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has travelled to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky in an unannounced visit. A picture shared by the Embassy of Ukraine to the UK on Twitter showed the pair sitting across a table in the country’s capital, with their respective flags in the room

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence estimates that Russia has sent more than 19,000 troops to their deaths. Meanwhile, thousands of Moscow’s soldiers have retreated from the Kyiv region to refocus Russia’s military efforts on eastern Ukraine.

However, a senior U.S. defence official said Friday the Pentagon has determined that some of the Russian combat units that retreated from the Kyiv area in recent days are so heavily damaged and depleted that their combat utility is in question. 

Some analysts have suggested that the focus on the Donbas and the pledge to de-escalate may merely be an effort to put a positive spin on reality: Moscow’s ground forces have been thwarted – and have taken heavy losses – in their bid to seize the capital and other major cities. 

Earlier today, the bodies of 132 civilians were found shot dead at a new potential Russian war crime site in Ukraine, officials said, as Kyiv‘s forces continue to thwart Moscow’s ambition of joining Crimea and the Donbas.

The slain civilians were found in Makariv, a town in Kyiv Oblast and about 30 miles west of the capital. All died from bullet wounds, the town’s mayor said. 

Roughly 40 percent of the town has been destroyed, according to reports, which came after Ukrainian troops recaptured it from Russian occupation on March 22. Officials have been counting the dead ever since.

Similar scenes have been found in the nearby town of Bucha, where more than 400 dead civilians were discovered. The majority had also been gunned down.

Workers unearthed bodies from a mass grave in the commuter town, as graphic evidence of dozens of killings emerged following the withdrawal of Russian forces.

It also comes after two Russian missiles struck a railway station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, killing at least 52 people who were attempting to flee west.

Source: dailymail

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