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British PM Johnson says 'Ukraine will be free' during speech to Kyiv lawmakers

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British PM Johnson says 'Ukraine will be free' during speech to Kyiv lawmakers
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson -- pictured left, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky -- said "Ukraine will be free" during a taped address to the Ukrainian Parliament on Tuesday. File Photo by Ukrainian Presidency | License Photo

May 3 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "Ukraine will be free," during a taped address to Kyiv lawmakers on Tuesday.

"Ukraine will win, Ukraine will be free," said Johnson, who is the first world leader to address Ukrainian MPs since Russia invaded in late February.

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"We in the U.K. will do whatever we can to hold them to account for these war crimes and in this moment of uncertainty, of continuing fear and doubt, I have one message for you today: Ukraine will win, Ukraine will be free," Johnson said during the address, which was announced the day before.

Johnson called the country's ability to repeatedly repel Russian forces "Ukraine's finest hour" and said Ukrainian soldiers have "fought with the energy and courage of lions."

The prime minister also admitted Western nations made a mistake by not doing more when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

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"The truth is that we were too slow to grasp what was really happening and we collectively failed to impose the sanctions then, that we should have put on Vladimir Putin," Johnson said.

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"We cannot make the same mistake again," he added.

"We in the U.K. will be guided by you and we are proud to be your friends," Johnson said, while members of Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, applauded.

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