Boris 'is desperate' to visit Ukraine to see devastation for himself

Boris Johnson ‘is desperate’ to visit Ukraine to see for himself the devastation being wreaked by Vladimir Putin’s invasion after ’emotional’ calls with Zelensky

Boris Johnson is ‘desperate’ to visit Ukraine to see for himself the devastation  being wreaked by Vladimir Putin’s invasion, a minister has said.

Tory chairman Oliver Dowden insisted the PM has a ‘real emotional connection’ with the suffering of the Ukrainian people and wants to experience what it is like ‘on the ground’.

The comments, in an interview with LBC, came despite security fears over Mr Johnson’s apparent desire to visit Kyiv for talks with Volodymyr Zelensky.

The premier has been holding almost daily calls with the president, which insiders told MailOnline have often been emotional and left Mr Johnson ‘moist around the eyes’.  

The UN’s refugee agency says around 3.5million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began, with millions more forced out their homes remaining in the country.

Security officials are believed to be nervous about Boris Johnson’s (right) apparent desire to visit Kyiv for talks with Volodymyr Zelensky (left)

The rubble of a shopping mall shelled by Russian forces in north west Kyiv yesterday

Mr Dowden, who serves in Cabinet, said: ‘I think the Prime Minister is desperate to go to Ukraine and has throughout this conflict felt a real – as the British people have done – a real emotional connection with the suffering of the Ukrainian people and a need for the West to unite in standing up to this threat from Russia which has been exposed to Ukraine.’

Pushed on why Mr Johnson needed to travel to the war zone rather than speaking to Mr Zelensky on the phone, Mr Dowden said: ‘Well I think it’s both to see what’s going on on the ground – because it’s very different talking to somebody on the phone versus actually seeing it in practice, and by the way, I should say that no decisions have been taken in relation to this – but then secondly, it’s actually to experience what is happening there, to see what is happening to the people on the ground.’

He added: ‘I think that is very different to just speaking remotely.’

Eight people were killed in Kyiv on Sunday when a shopping centre was hit.

The Ministry of Defence says the Russian advance on the capital remains stalled in the face of determined Ukrainian resistance.

The bulk of Moscow’s forces are believed to be still more than 15 miles from the centre.

Analysts believe the capital is still the Kremlin’s main military objective, although it is thought the Russians will try to force it into submission through encirclement rather than attempting a direct assault. 

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