Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a historic visit to the UK on Wednesday – and surprised a compatriot with an impromptu hug during a press conference.
Zelensky’s visit was announced Wednesday morning to bolster Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion last February.
During a press conference in Dorset, a BBC Ukrainian journalist rose to his feet, masking his question, saying he wanted to hug Zelensky, but probably wouldn’t be allowed.
“Why not?” Zelensky responded before vacating his lectern and offering a warm hug. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak can be seen smiling and applauding in the background.
Other journalists described the moment as “touching” as they captured the encounter on their phones.
Zelensky is in the UK to urge the country to provide fighter planes to the Ukrainian war effort, which Western allies have so far refused to do. He gave a speech to lawmakers in Westminster Hall, during which he presented the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, with a Ukrainian fighter pilot’s helmet emblazoned with the message: “We have freedom. Give us wings to protect it.”