Lulworth in Dorset got a surprise visit from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as he ended his day trip to the UK by flying into the local military base.
Accompanied by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, President Zelensky arrived by Chinook helicopter at Lulworth Camp, where Ukrainian soldiers are being trained to fight in their country’s war with Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are welcomed to Lulworth Camp
Arrived in the late afternoon at Lulworth Camp
During his visit on Wednesday 8th February 2023, the president addressed MPs at the Palace of Westminster and met with King Charles at Buckingham Palace before arriving at Lulworth Camp just after 5.20 pm.
With the weather clear and bright the president couldn’t have failed to notice the stunning Purbeck countryside and coastline from the helicopter.
The military base, just inland from the world famous Lulworth Cove, is home to the Armoured Fighting Vehicle Gunnery school.
The training facility was set up at Lulworth Camp in 1918 and has taught UK Army soldiers and Royal Marines how to use armoured fighting vehicles.
Meeting the Ukrainian troops at the camp
Training Ukrainians to use British tanks
Now the Armoured Fighting Vehicle Gunnery school is training Ukrainian soldiers how to operate the Challenger 2 tanks, which are being sent from the UK to help the Ukrainian war effort.
It was announced in January 2023 that a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks along with AS90 guns, rocket missiles and artillery rounds would be provided to Ukraine.
Arriving in Lulworth Camp the president and prime minister, standing in front of a tank, met Ukrainian soldiers and some of the troops were awarded medals.
Being shown the Challenger 2 tank simulator
Shaking hands after signing the London Declaration at Lulworth
Challenger 2 tank training simulator
They were then shown a Challenger 2 tank training simulator before signing the London Declaration promising more cooperation between the two countries.
Finally there was a news conference, where a BBC Ukraine journalist received a hug from President Zelensky and there were questions over whether Ukraine would be provided with fighter jets from the UK as the president had requested.
BBC Ukraine journalist says she would like to hug the president and he says ‘why not?’
News conference at Lulworth Camp where the president reiterates his country’s need to get fighter planes as well as tanks from the UK and other countries in Europe
London, Lulworth and Paris!
In what was an extraordinary day for Lulworth, President Zelensky then flew from Purbeck to Paris for evening talks with the French President Emmanuel Macron.