Rishi Sunak has said that he is "committed" to helping Ukraine defend and advance its position ahead of the one-year anniversary of the invasion. 

The UK Prime Minister has spoken to the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, almost a year on from when Russia first invited the country. 

On February 24, 2022, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” and that he was seeking the “demilitarisation” and “denazification” of Ukraine.

Tens of thousands of people have died since the invasion began and around 17 million people are currently displaced, within Ukraine or as refugees across Europe.

Rishi Sunak speaks to President Zelensky ahead of Ukraine war anniversary

In a statement on Wednesday, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: “Now was the time for Ukraine to seize the opportunity to make real progress on the battlefield and further demonstrate to Putin that Ukraine would ultimately win, the leaders agreed.

“Discussing the equipment required to help Ukraine defend and advance its position, the Prime Minister said he remained committed to ensuring Ukraine had the capabilities they needed, both now and in the future.”

It comes after Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko praised the “bipartisan” support across British politics for Ukraine as well as the Government’s welcome to Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.

As of February 13, around 160,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Under the scheme, people are sponsored by a UK household for six months.

There is also the Ukraine Family Scheme for those with family already settled in the UK.

However, some concerns have been raised over some Ukrainian refugees in the UK facing homelessness or destitution.

Mr Prystaiko said: “Your colleagues, Ukrainian journalists, are formulating this question differently. How come that a nation which has not much in common with us is supporting at such a level – why?

“And you know most of the nations around the globe are supporting us through taxpayers’ money … Here it is different, people opening up their houses. The Ukrainians are asking – why? What is that? How can we repay?”

In the same interview, the Ukrainian ambassador also looked ahead beyond the war to Ukraine's place in the world.

He added: “What we are telling Russians – let us write the new chapter here. Let’s draw the line, we will live our lives, you will live whatever you want to do.

“We don’t want to isolate ourselves, North Korean style – which very unfortunately Russia is moving towards – we would like to be open and do the same as many nations.”