Zelensky invites Rishi Sunak to Ukraine as first leader to talk to new Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak was invited to Ukraine  (ES composite)
Rishi Sunak was invited to Ukraine (ES composite)
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The Prime Minister has been invited to visit Ukraine by Volodymyr Zelensky as Russia accused Ukraine of preparing to launch a “dirty bomb” attack.

The Ukrainian President was the first world leader to talk to Rishi Sunak on Tuesday night after he officially became the new PM.

After the call Mr Zelensky said: “I believe that the partnership between our countries and the already traditional British leadership in the defence of democracy and freedom will be further strengthened. I invited the Prime Minister to visit Ukraine.

“I am grateful to everyone who helps us fight for freedom.”

Russia told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that it believed Ukraine was preparing to use a “dirty bomb” - an explosive laced with radioactive material.

The claim was dismissed by Western and Ukrainian officials as a false pretext for intensifying the war.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia has previously “accused others of what it intends to do itself”.

“We have to monitor closely what Russia now do and they must know that use of a dirty bomb is needless,” he told Sky News.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said the Prime Minister assured Mr Zelensky that “the United Kingdom’s support for Ukraine would be as strong as ever under his premiership” and he could “count on his Government to stand in continued solidarity”.

She added: “The Prime Minister also noted the importance of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s work in Ukraine to ensure nuclear safety and provide transparency around any disinformation.

“Both leaders agreed on the need to continue to place pressure on Putin’s barbaric regime through continued economic sanctions.

“President Zelenskyy congratulated the Prime Minister on his appointment and wished him a happy Diwali. The Prime Minister thanked him and said he hoped they would see each other in person soon.”

Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin would be “making an incredibly serious mistake” if it used a tactical nuclear weapon.

Mr Sunak spoke with the US President on Tuesday night and both leaders reiterated their commitment to supporting Ukraine.

A No10 spokeswoman added: “President Biden congratulated the Prime Minister on his appointment and the leaders looked forward to working closely together.

“They reflected on the leading role our countries are playing in supporting the people of Ukraine and ensuring Putin fails in this war.”