Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Ukrainian children they should be “immensely proud” of themselves in an open letter published Sunday, three months into the Russian invasion that has displaced millions of refugees within Ukraine and abroad.

“Many of you have seen or experienced things no child should have to witness. Yet, everyday Ukrainian children are teaching all of us what it means to be strong and dignified. To hold your head high in the toughest of times. I can think of no better role model for children and adults everywhere,” Johnson wrote.

The British PM said “the absence of children and young people on the streets and in the parks” he saw when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky showed him around Kyiv last month made him “feel very sad.” According to UNICEF, more than half of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children have been forced to flee the ongoing violence, as homes, schools, water supplies and hospitals have been damaged or destroyed.

Boris Johnson also told Ukrainian children: “you are not alone,” echoing many messages of solidarity expressed in the United Kingdom and in many other countries.

You may be separated from your friends at home, but you have millions of others all over the world.

“Here in the United Kingdom. We fly Ukrainian flags from our homes, offices, churches, shops and playgrounds. Even from my own roof in Downing Street, where the windows are filled with sunflowers drawn by British children. Our young people are painting your flag in their classrooms and making blue and yellow bracelets in support of your country,” his letter read.

Johnson shared Zelensky’s hopes regarding the end of the conflict: “I believe, like your president, that Ukraine is going to win this war,” he wrote.

“I hope with all my heart that one day soon, you will be free to return to your homes, your schools, your families, and whatever happens, however long it takes.”

“We in the UK will never forget you and we’ll always be proud to call you our friends,” Johnson’s letter concluded.

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