THE UK will provide Ukraine with air defence missiles and attack drones, Downing Street has announced, as Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Rishi Sunak at Chequers.

In the latest leg of the Ukrainian president’s tour of western allies, Zelenskyy said the two leaders had also discussed western fighter jets and he anticipated “very important decisions” to be made soon.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister had welcomed the president to Chequers as the UK continues “sustaining (its) support” for the war-torn country.

It follows meetings in Paris, Berlin and Rome and comes three months after the Ukrainian leader’s first trip to London since the start of Russia’s invasion.

The National:

Following the meeting, the president said the two countries were “real partners”, with Sunak knowing details of developments on the battlefield.

“We want to create this jets coalition and I’m very positive with it,” he said.

“We spoke about it and I see that in the closest time you will hear some, I think very important decisions but we have to work a little bit more on it.”

The Prime Minister stressed that the provision of warplanes was “not a straightforward thing” but said the UK was committed to training Ukrainian pilots to use Nato-standard aircraft.

No 10 said an elementary flying phase for cohorts of Ukrainian pilots will begin this summer, going hand in hand with British efforts to work with other countries on providing F16 jets.

Sunak said: “This is a crucial moment in Ukraine’s resistance to a terrible war of aggression they did not choose or provoke.

“They need the sustained support of the international community to defend against the barrage of unrelenting and indiscriminate attacks that have been their daily reality for over a year.

“We must not let them down.

“The frontlines of Putin’s war of aggression may be in Ukraine but the fault lines stretch all over the world.

“It is in all our interest to ensure Ukraine succeeds and Putin’s barbarism is not rewarded.

“That is why the UK is sustaining our support to Ukraine, from tanks to training, ammunition to armoured vehicles.

“And this message of solidarity will ring loud in all my meetings with fellow world leaders in the days ahead.”

The National:

At the start of the meeting, Zelenskyy thanked the UK Government, the King and the British people for their support.

“We are thankful from all our hearts, from Ukrainians, from our soldiers, we are thankful,” he said.

The president said his talks with the Prime Minister would cover “very important issues, urgent support for Ukraine”.

The crisis was a matter of “security not only for Ukraine, it is important for all of Europe”.

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The latest package of military assistance will see hundreds of air defence missiles and further unmanned aerial systems including long-range attack drones with a range of more than 200 kilometres (124 miles).

The new equipment will be delivered over the coming months.

The UK has also recently promised long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Kyiv after continued Russian attacks.

The meeting between the two leaders comes at the start of a week of intense diplomatic activity on the Ukraine crisis.

 =Sunak will attend a Council of Europe summit in Iceland, with Zelenskyy joining virtually, before heading to Japan for the G7 gathering in Hiroshima.