King Charles is determined to visit Ukraine again before he “gets too old” to see the war-ravaged nation.
The 74-year-old monarch – who visited Ukraine in 1996 and welcomed its president Volodymyr Zelensky to Buckingham Palace in early February – shared his desire to go back during a visit on Thursday to open the new headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Canary Wharf, London.
Speaking one day ahead of the 13-month anniversary of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion on the nation, Charles said: “I must go again before I get too old. I would like the chance to see Ukraine again.
Established in 1991 at the end of the Cold War to build open market economies in the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the EBRD’s new offices are in a 26-storey skyscraper that is one of the most environmentally advanced buildings in Britain as it is completely run on green energy.
It has an office in Kyiv but the bank was forced to evacuate their staff to Warsaw in Poland following the outbreak of war on February 24, 2022, which has caused tens of thousands of deaths on both sides and instigated Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II.
Jurgen Rigterink, first vice president of the bank, told Charles it was the leading international financial institution responding to both the Ukraine invasion and recent deadly earthquake tragedy in Turkey.
Charles was also introduced to a charitable project being run by staff called ‘Kids and Art for Ukraine’ on his visit to the new offices.
He was handed a landscape picture painted by Sofia Franchuk, 16, from the town of Tarashcha, around 120 kilometres from Kyiv, who has kept going to art school and painting the invasion.
Charles asked to be given her address so he keep in touch with her by letter.
Co-founder of the ‘Kids and Art for Ukraine’ project Olga Evans told Mail Online about the royal visit: “It was such an honour. The king seemed so pleased.
“He said he wanted to visit Ukraine before he got too old. We hope there will be peace soon so that he can. He wants to come to our country.”
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