PM Johnson promises Ukraine to counter Russia's 'malign influence'

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Downing Street in London, Britain October 8, 2020. Aaron Chown/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday promised to work with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to counter Russia's "malign influence" and offered British support for Ukraine's defence and security.

Britain and Ukraine have clinched a partnership agreement that includes a free trade deal covering goods, services, and tariffs and quotas.

"The two leaders discussed the importance of working together to counter Russia's malign influence, both in Ukraine and in the wider region," a Downing Street spokesman said.

"They also expressed their shared concern about the situation in Belarus. The prime minister outlined the steps the UK has taken in response to human rights abuses in the country, including the imposition of sanctions."

Johnson welcomed NATO's recent decision to grant Ukraine Enhanced Opportunities Partner status.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by William James)

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