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UK points to mounting Russian losses, as Boris Johnson promises more military aid for Kyiv

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AP, AFP
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Britain's PM Boris Johnson walk in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 9 April, 2022
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Britain's PM Boris Johnson walk in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 9 April, 2022   -   Copyright  Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP   -  

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised Ukrainian railway workers as "people of iron" in a new video released on Sunday, after a surprise visit to Kyiv. 

The video was recorded on board a train as it travelled from Poland to the Ukrainian capital, with Johnson offering his condolences to the railway workers who were victims of a missile strike at Kramatorsk railway station, where more than 50 people were killed on Friday. 

The UK's Ministry of Defence said on Sunday that Russia is suffering mounting losses and as a consequence is trying to recruit from amongst the group of military personnel who retired after 2012.

It also claimed that Russia is trying to recruit soldiers from the breakaway region of Transnistria, which remains a part of Moldova.

For more than thirty years about 1,500 to 2,000 Russian soldiers have been stationed in the mostly Russian-speaking region.

Boris Johnson paid a visit to Kyiv, the latest in a long line of European politicians to go to the Ukrainian capital including als Austria's Chancellor Kerl Nehammer earlier on Saturday. 

Johnson, who is the first leader of a G7 country to visit, was taken for a walk through empty streets to Independence Square.

Russia's military has now withdrawn from northern Ukraine, as well as from around Kyiv, and is focussing on the mostly Russian-speaking industrial Donbast region in the east.

On Friday British government promised to supply high-grade weapons worth 120 million euros, including anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.

Johnson also confirmed further economic support, guaranteeing an additional 550 million euros in World Bank lending to Ukraine, taking Britain’s total loan guarantee to up to 1.1 billion euros.

In an interview with AP news agency, Zelenskyy noted the increased support but expressed frustration when asked if the weapons and equipment Ukraine has received from the West is sufficient to shift the war’s outcome.

“Not yet,” he said, switching to English for emphasis. “Of course, it’s not enough.”