New developments:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says goal of planned counteroffensive is to take back Ukrainian territory, not attack Russian territory.
  • China says top envoy to visit Ukraine, Russia, Poland, France and Germany in push for “political settlement” to Ukraine conflict.
  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people are fighting for European freedom and values. Awarding the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen, von der Leyen said the EU is sending the clear message of standing with Ukraine.

Britain announced Monday a new military aid package for Ukraine as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived for talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The new aid includes hundreds of air defense missiles as well as long-range attack drones.

“The UK is a leader when it comes to expanding our capabilities on the ground and in the air,” Zelenskyy tweeted ahead of the meeting. “This cooperation will continue today. I will meet my friend Rishi. We will conduct substantive negotiations face-to-face and in delegations.”

Monday’s talks were set to take place at the prime minister’s Chequers country residence.

“This is a crucial moment in Ukraine’s resistance to a terrible war,” Sunak said in a statement.

Zelenskyy’s stop in Britain was the latest in a string of visits to Western partners in recent days that included meetings in Paris, Berlin and Rome.

France announced it will provide tanks, armored vehicles and training for Ukrainian soldiers in a new wave of military aid as Ukraine prepares for an expected counteroffensive in its fight against a Russian invasion.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said in a statement that his government would provide the light tanks and armored vehicles “in the weeks ahead,” while pledging to provide military, political, economic and humanitarian support for Ukraine “for as long as necessary.”

France will also provide support for Ukraine’s air defenses and aim to train 2,000 Ukrainian troops in France and nearly 4,000 others in Poland this year.

The statement followed a meeting between Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who arrived in Paris Sunday.

“Paris. With each visit, Ukraine’s defense and offensive capabilities are expanding,” Zelenskyy tweeted. “The ties with Europe are getting stronger, and the pressure on Russia is growing.”

Zelenskyy also expressed hope that France would support Ukraine’s push for allies to provide it with fighter jets. Ukrainian officials have lobbied for the jets as the next advance in the military aid available for Ukrainian forces, but so far Western leaders have not supported sending more advanced jets such as the U.S.-made F-16.

The Ukrainian leader traveled to France after stops in Germany and Italy.

Germany announced a $3 billion aid package for Ukraine, its biggest since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

“Now is the time for us to determine the end of the war already this year, we can make the aggressor’s defeat irreversible already this year,” Zelenskyy said Sunday during a joint news conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

SEE ALSO: A related video by VOA’s Arash Arabasadi

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.