Britain's Johnson walks through empty Kyiv with Ukraine's Zelensky

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky walk through central Kyiv, on April 9, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) speaks to a local resident as he walks through Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on April 9, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (centre) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (second from left) walk past portraits of Heavenly Hundred Heroes in central Kyiv on April 9, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) visit the Memorial to the Heavenly Hundred Heroes as they walk in central Kyiv, on April 9, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) walk in central Kyiv, on April 9, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

KYIV, UKRAINE (AFP) - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson walked through the streets of Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a surprise visit on Saturday (April 9), weeks after the city was attacked by Russian forces and remains vulnerable.

Zelensky's office published a video of the pair walking through the largely empty city centre guarded by what appeared to be snipers and other heavy security.

They walked through Kyiv's main Kreshchatyk street to the Maidan square, where a 2014 revolution overthrew a pro-Moscow government, when hostilities with neighbouring Russia began.

The leaders greeted several passersby.

One of them was visibly emotional to see the British leader in the Ukrainian capital.

"We need you," the man said, to which Johnson replied: "Nice to meet you. We are privileged to help. You have a remarkable president, Mr Zelensky."

Earlier, Johnson praised Zelensky's "heroism", saying it had helped Ukraine rebuff a Russian offensive on Kyiv.

He said Western intelligence believed Russia thought "Ukraine could be engulfed in a matter of days".

Ukraine says it has retaken the whole of the Kyiv region from Russian forces that had occupied it.

But Kyiv, whose suburbs were occupied, remains vigilant and vulnerable.

The city has a night time curfew.

Johnson's visit comes days after civilian bodies were discovered in towns near the Ukraine capital after Russian forces retreated.

Johnson called these "war crimes" and said they had "permanently polluted" Russian President Vladimir Putin's reputation.

His visit, unannounced by London or Kyiv, was the first of a G-7 leader since Putin launched his invasion on Feb 24.

Remote video URL

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.