LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday to sign a partnership agreement that includes a free trade deal covering goods, services, and tariffs and quotas.
Since leaving the European Union earlier this year, Britain is seeking bilateral agreements with other countries, underlining Johnson’s resolve to go it alone once a transition arrangement with the bloc concludes at the end of this year.
Britain threw its support behind Ukraine after Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and backed separatists in a war that has killed thousands of people, in action that brought Western sanctions against Moscow.
“The UK is Ukraine’s most fervent supporter … we are utterly committed to upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Johnson said in a statement.
“The Strategic Partnership Agreement we are signing today signals the next chapter in our relationship. It’s a chapter that will bring increased security and prosperity for both the people of the UK and Ukraine.”
The agreement includes a comprehensive preferential free trade agreement covering goods, services, and tariffs and quotas, the government said, adding that it rolled over and built upon the EU-Ukraine Agreement.
On Wednesday, Ukraine said it would sign a memorandum with Britain to secure 1.25 billion pounds to build new military vessels for the Ukrainian Navy.
Zelenskiy is on a two-day visit to Britain, where he was given a tour of the Prince of Wales aircraft carrier in Portsmouth.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison)