Sunak’s gift to Zelensky honours late Queen
Rishi Sunak gave Volodymyr Zelensky an unusual gift as he welcomed the Ukrainian president to the UK for the first time since Russia invaded his country.
The Prime Minister presented his guest with a spent bullet casing from the 62-gun salute from the Tower of London following the Queen’s death, Downing Street said.
The pair shared a breakfast of croissants in the Prime Minister’s No 10 flat, together with Mr Sunak’s wife Akshata Murthy.
Welcome, President @ZelenskyyUa.
🇬🇧🇺🇦 #SlavaUkraini pic.twitter.com/uG1VTuxJpC
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) February 8, 2023
Ms Murthy gave Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska a #StandWithUkraine sunflower scarf from Aspinal, the proceeds of which go to the Centre for Women’s Perspectives in Ukraine.
Mr Sunak’s spokesman told reporters: “The Prime Minister has given President Zelensky a spent bullet casing from the 62-gun salute from the Tower of London following the death of Her Majesty the Queen.
“As you’ll know, following the death of the Queen, President Zelensky paid tribute to her selfless service to her people and said she would forever remain in the history of mankind.”
During a rousing speech in Westminster Hall, Mr Zelensky indicated the gift he would most value from the UK.
The wartime leader presented a Ukrainian fighter ace’s helmet to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, with the inscription “we have freedom, give us wings to protect it”.
He urged UK and Western allies to supply his air force with advanced jets, saying that on his last trip to Parliament two years ago in peacetime, “I thanked you for delicious English tea”, but now he would be “thanking all of you in advance for powerful English planes”.