UKRAINIAN President Volodymyr Zelensky has landed in Essex as part of his first visit to the UK since the Russian invasion of his country.

Prime Minster Rishi Sunak promised extra military support, announcing plans to train Ukrainian pilots, paving the way for them eventually being able to fly sophisticated Nato-standard jets, a key request from Mr Zelensky.

Mr Zelensky landed at Stansted airport this morning, greeted by Mr Sunak upon arrival.

Downing Street said the surprise visit would see Mr Zelensky meet the Prime Minister, visit Ukrainian troops and address Parliament.

He will also have an audience with the King, Buckingham Palace said.

Mr Sunak said: “President Zelensky’s visit to the UK is a testament to his country’s courage, determination and fight, and a testament to the unbreakable friendship between our two countries.

“Since 2014, the UK has provided vital training to Ukrainian forces, allowing them to defend their country, protect their sovereignty and fight for their territory.

“I am proud that today we will expand that training from soldiers to marines and fighter jet pilots, ensuring Ukraine has a military able to defend its interests well into the future.

“It also underlines our commitment to not just provide military equipment for the short term, but a long-term pledge to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine for years to come.”

READ MORE >> Essex airport announces new route coming next month - all you need to know

Foreign Secretary and fellow Essex MP James Cleverly has also announced a fresh round of sanctions against the Russian military and some Kremlin figures, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky makes a visit to the UK.

The sanctions package hits six entities the Foreign Office said provided military equipment such as drones to the Russia government, as well as eight individuals and one entity linked to Russian financial networks.

Braintree and Witham Times: Braintree MP James Cleverly pictured in ParliamentBraintree MP James Cleverly pictured in Parliament (Image: PA)

Mr Cleverly said: “Ukraine has shown Putin that it will not break under his tyrannical invasion. He has responded by indiscriminately striking civilian areas and critical national infrastructure across the country.

“We cannot let him succeed. We must increase our support.”

“These new sanctions accelerate the economic pressure on Putin – undermining his war machine to help Ukraine prevail.

"I am determined, consistent with our laws, that Russia will have no access to the assets we have frozen until it ends, once and for all, its threats to Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and integrity.”