Ukraine war briefing: Starmer assures Zelenskiy of ‘unwavering’ support

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, has said after the election of a new UK government: “I am grateful to Keir Starmer for his assurances that Britain’s support for Ukraine will remain unchanged in principle.” Starmer’s office said he told Zelenskiy in a phone call that the Labour government would keep providing “unwavering” support for Kyiv in its war against Russia. Zelenskiy said he had wished the new PM success in fulfilling the expectations of the British people. Zelenskiy also thanked the outgoing Conservative PM, Rishi Sunak, for his steadfast support.

  • Zelenskiy said he and Starmer had “coordinated our positions” ahead of next week’s Nato summit at which Ukraine hopes to hear of possible steps to membership. A senior US official said Nato allies at their summit in Washington would unveil a “bridge to membership” for Ukraine and announce steps to bolster its air defences.

  • Zelenskiy said on Friday that he sought to double Ukraine’s air defence capacity over the summer “and now we are starting to see results”. Ukraine has received its third German-supplied Patriot system, adding to those given or pledged by other countries. It also operates US Hawk, German Iris and other systems to shoot down Russian drones, missiles and aircraft. Zelenskiy said Ukraine had also received on Friday “additional support” from the US but gave no details.

  • Ukraine and its western allies have hit out at the pro-Kremlin Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, after Vladimir Putin hosted him in Moscow. The visit came a few days after Orbán made a similar unannounced trip to Kyiv, as he tries to position himself as a peace broker. Orbán this week assumed the rotating EU presidency until the end of the year and told reporters in Moscow that he viewed his six-month tenure as a peace mission.

  • The EU leadership in Brussels was quick to denounce the visit, stressing that Orbán had “not received any mandate from the EU council to visit Moscow” and did not speak for the EU, writes Pjotr Sauer. “Prime minister Viktor Orbán’s visit to Moscow takes place exclusively in the framework of the bilateral relations between Hungary and Russia. The Hungarian prime minister is thus not representing the EU in any form,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief.

  • Russian attacks on Friday killed eight people and injured at least 28 in Ukraine’s eastern frontline Donetsk region, the regional governor said. Five people were killed, and eight were injured when two Russian guided bombs struck the town of Selydove, west of the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk, said Vadym Filashkin. Separately, Russian troops dropped three guided bombs on the village of Komar, further south-west, killing a 32-year-old woman. Twenty others were injured, Filashkin said. Thirteen private houses, four shops and two residential buildings were damaged in the attack, he added, alongside two infrastructure facilities.

  • The Guardian