Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, paid a historic visit to the UK on Wednesday — and surprised a compatriot with a hug during an impromptu moment during a press conference.
Zelensky’s trip was only announced on Wednesday morning as he drums up support for Ukraine’s resistance following Russia’s invasion last February.
During a press conference in Dorset, a BBC Ukrainian journalist rose to her feet and prefaced her question by saying she would like to give Zelensky a hug, but would probably not be allowed.
“Why not?” Zelensky responded, before vacating his lectern and offering a warm embrace. Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, could be seen in the background smiling and applauding.
Other reporters described the moment as “touching” as they captured the encounter on their phones.
Zelensky is in the UK to request that the country supply fighter planes to the Ukrainian war effort, something Western allies have so far declined to do. He gave a speech to lawmakers at Westminster Hall, during which he gifted Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, a helmet from a Ukrainian fighter pilot inscribed with the message: “We have freedom. Give us wings to protect it.”
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