Boris Johnson is “desperate” to visit Ukraine to “experience what is happening” during the devastating invasion of Russian forces, a minister has said.
Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden argued that the risky visit would be important in enabling the prime minister to “see what is going on on earth”.
Reports have suggested that British security officials are nervous about Mr Johnson’s apparent desire to visit Kiev to speak with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Sir. Dowden told LBC: “Well, I think the Prime Minister is desperate to go to Ukraine and has throughout this conflict felt a real – as the British people have done – a genuine emotional connection with the suffering of the Ukrainian people.”
Asked why the Prime Minister had to travel to the nation during the siege instead of holding a new call with Mr Zelensky, Mr Dowden said: “It is very different to talk to someone on the phone compared to actually seeing it in practice. . “
“But secondly, it’s actually about experiencing what’s going on there, to see what’s going on with the people on earth,” Mr Dowden said. “I think it’s very different than just talking externally.”
The Tory chairman also clarified that “no decisions have been made in relation to this”, following reports that security officials “have kittens” about the prime minister’s wishes for visits.
Sir. Dowden also defended the prime minister after his comparison between Ukraine’s fight against Russia and the British people’s decision to vote for Brexit sparked outrage.
The Tory chair said that “they are exercising a freedom and the British people were able to exercise a freedom” in his LBC interview with Andrew Marr.
“The point that the Prime Minister made, they are exercising a freedom and the British people were able to exercise a freedom – that’s a valuable thing we have and we should be robust in defending it,” he said.
He added: “I would argue that going back to the speech the Prime Minister gave is about free nations being able to choose their own destiny.”
Sir. Dowden also said the prime minister was confident he would be sanctioned at the end of the Metropolitan Police investigation into Covid lockdown sessions when Scotland Yard begins interviewing key witnesses.
“The Prime Minister is, in fact, absolutely, resolutely aware that he will not be subject to a fixed fine because he is convinced that he has not broken the law, so therefore I do not think that situation will arise,” he said. .
The latest assessment from the Ministry of Defense says that the Russian advance towards the capital has continued to stagnate despite the determined Ukrainian opposition.
Most of Moscow’s forces are still believed to be more than 15 miles from the center.
Analysts believe that the capital is still the Kremlin’s main military target, although it is believed that the Russians will try to force it to surrender through siege instead of attempting a direct attack.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says some 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began, and millions have been forced back into the country.