Boris 'wants to visit Kyiv' as security officials 'have kittens over the idea'

21 March 2022, 06:09 | Updated: 21 March 2022, 06:28

Boris Johnson is said to be hoping to visit Kyiv if a plan can be worked out
Boris Johnson is said to be hoping to visit Kyiv if a plan can be worked out. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Boris Johnson has asked Whitehall officials if he can visit the besieged Ukrainian capital Kyiv to support Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

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He reportedly wants to know if it would be feasible to make a fast journey and back the president despite Russian forces continuing to try and encircle the city.

Security officials were said to be "having kittens" at the idea but Mr Johnson "wants to go" if a plan can be put together, the Daily Mail said.

"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," a source told the paper.

Any such trip would follow the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, who last week travelled to Kyiv before returning home safely.

But it would represent a risk, with Russian forces at the gates of the capital.

Read more: Ukraine rejects Putin's order to surrender besieged Mariupol as fighting engulfs city

It is thought they are slowly trying to surround the city, with some observers believing that a pre-war goal was the overthrow of Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his democratically-elected government.

Russia's attacks on cities will also give pause for thought.

More than 200 people, including four children, have been killed in the capital since the war began, city officials have said.

Other urban areas have come under devastating attack, with Mariupol especially hit hard.

Read more: Russian forces bomb art school where 400 people were taking shelter in Mariupol

Ukraine said Russia bombed an art school where 400 people were taking shelter in the southern city on Saturday.

The city’s mayor claimed invading troops had forcefully deported thousands from the area but the claims have not been independently verified.

Last week, a theatre where some 1,300 people were thought to be sheltering was hit, sparking a desperate bid to save anyone still alive from the rubble.

However, Ukraine refused to surrender the city to Russia, which issued an overnight ultimatum.

Boris Johnson said on Sunday he would try and support Ukraine's cause in international meetings throughout the week.

"I spoke to President @ZelenskyyUa this afternoon to set out how I will be working to advance Ukraine's interests at meetings of NATO and the G7 this week," he tweeted.