Volodymyr Zelensky hails Boris as a 'true friend' to embattled Ukraine09/03/2022
Volodymyr Zelensky hails Boris as a ‘true friend’ to embattled Ukraine: President gushes about outgoing British Prime Minister’s hardline opposition to warmonger Putin (and reveals he has given him the nickname ‘Boris Johnsoniuk’)
- Volodymyr Zelensky hailed Boris Johnson as a ‘true friend’ to Ukraine days before the British PM leaves office
- Zelensky promised to forge ‘close relations’ with Johnson’s successor, which is widely tipped to be Liz Truss
- He also issued his thanks to Liz Truss and Ben Wallace for being ‘great leaders and friends of Ukraine’
Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed Boris Johnson as a ‘true friend’ to Ukraine, days before the prime minister leaves office.
Writing for the Mail on Sunday, Mr Zelensky paid tribute to UK solidarity with Ukraine following the Russian invasion. He also promised to forge ‘close relations’ with the new prime minister.
The Ukrainian president used the article to thank Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, calling them ‘great leaders and friends of Ukraine’.
‘At each and every meeting and conversation between us, Boris had one very good question: What else? What else do you need?’ he wrote.
‘It became our watchword, guaranteeing effective progress. Believe me, not many politicians are ready to do this.’
Mr Zelensky, who has often praised Mr Johnson’s commitment to the Ukrainian cause since the war began, says that he believes ‘in the power of personal leadership’.
Volodymyr Zelensky (right) has hailed Boris Johnson (left) as a ‘true friend’ to Ukraine, days before the prime minister leaves office. The pair are pictured together on 24 August
‘I know it has not been an easy ride for Boris Johnson as he had to deal with many internal challenges. Prioritising support for Ukraine demanded a great courage and determination,’ Mr Zelensky wrote.
‘Last month, Ukraine celebrated the 31st anniversary of our independence.
‘Again, Boris Johnson was with us, welcomed by ordinary Ukrainians.
‘We even started to address him, warmly and humorously, as ‘Boris Johnsoniuk’ – a Ukrainian sounding surname if you put a stress on the last syllable – inspired by his Instagram account @borisjohnsonuk.’
Mr Johnson will leave office on Tuesday, after a summer-long leadership contest between Ms Truss and Rishi Sunak. The Foreign Secretary is widely tipped to become prime minister next week.
The Ukrainian president said he would welcome whoever the next prime minister is and would establish ‘close relations’.
‘I sincerely hope that Boris’s legacy in this fight against Russian barbarism will be preserved.
‘We will continue to fight on because we do not have any other option. It is our lives and our future at stake. And we still need the UK’s support and leadership.’
Zelensky paid tribute to UK solidarity with Ukraine following the Russian invasion. He also promised to forge ‘close relations’ with the new prime minister. Zelensky and Johnson are pictured together on 24 August
‘I know it has not been an easy ride for Boris Johnson as he had to deal with many internal challenges. Prioritising support for Ukraine demanded a great courage and determination,’ Zelensky wrote. He is pictured with Johnson on 24 August
Mr Zelensky concludes by paying tribute to ‘my friend Boris’.
‘The 19th century Ukrainian poet, Taras Shevchenko, called upon his people to keep fighting against Russians: ‘Fight and you will prevail’. Back then, we did not have powerful friends on our side,’ he writes.
‘This time I have no doubt that Ukraine will succeed. That together with the UK we will make our world a safer place. And that our nations will grow even closer. As true friends. ‘Just like me and my friend, Boris.’
Meanwhile, in an interview with the BBC, to be broadcast on Sunday, Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska says that while the rest of Europe has been pitched into an energy crisis, Ukraine is at the forefront of Russian attacks.
‘I understand the situation is very tough. But let me recall that at the time of the Covid-19 epidemic, and it’s still with us, when there were price hikes, Ukraine was affected as well.
‘The prices are going up in Ukraine as well. But in addition our people get killed.
‘So when you start counting pennies on your bank account or in your pocket, we do the same and count our casualties,’ she said.
Mrs Zelenska’s words echo one of the messages the outgoing prime minister has been stressing in his final days in office, amid grim warnings about soaring energy bills this winter for UK households.
During his final visit to Kyiv as prime minister last month, Johnson said: ‘If we’re paying in our energy bills for the evils of Vladimir Putin, the people of Ukraine are paying in their blood.’ Johnson and Zelensky are pictured together on 25 August
Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky is pictured with his wife, Olena Zelenska
During his final visit to Kyiv as prime minister last month, Mr Johnson said: ‘If we’re paying in our energy bills for the evils of Vladimir Putin, the people of Ukraine are paying in their blood.’
The Ukrainian first lady, speaking to the Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme, also spoke about the video of a Ukrainian boy filmed crying crossing the border into Poland in March.
‘I think that fathers and mothers watching this video could not but break into tears. I always place myself in their situation and I think that everyone – every human in the world should feel the same,’ Mrs Zelenska said.
‘That’s why we have to tell these stories, to show these stories, because these are the faces of a war.
‘Not a number of bombs dropped, not the amount of money spent, human stories – and there are a thousand stories like that around.’
Mrs Zelenska also said that while she rarely sees her husband, they speak every day.
The BBC reports that she said she was ‘insulted’ by any surprise that her husband could shift from TV actor to war leader.
‘He’s the man I’ve always known. He wouldn’t do anything else.’
Ukraine honoured Mr Johnson with Hollywood walk-of-fame style flagstone and a medal for his wartime support of Ukraine during his surprise visit to Kyiv last week
The British prime minister visited the Ukrainian capital as the country commemorated its 1991 independence from the Soviet Union on 24 August, and shared a warm embrace with Zelensky
Ukraine honoured Mr Johnson with Hollywood walk-of-fame style flagstone and a medal for his wartime support of Ukraine during his surprise visit to Kyiv last week.
Mr Johnson, who has been one of the most vocal supporters of Ukraine’s plight in the face of Russian aggression, was awarded with the Ukrainian ‘Order of Liberty’ – the highest award that can be bestowed upon foreign nationals – in a ceremony personally led by Mr Zelensky on 24 August.
After the intimate ceremony – which saw Mr Johnson receive his medal and share a warm handshake with his Ukrainian counterpart – the pair toured the streets of Kyiv where the Prime Minister was shown a commemorative plaque bearing his name which was inset into the Ukrainian capital’s pavement.
The Prime Minister travelled to the Ukrainian capital on the country’s independence day, which marks 31 years since Ukraine broke free from Soviet rule.
Mr Johnson used the trip – his third to Kyiv since the start of Russia’s barbaric invasion in late February – to announce a new £54 million package of British military support.
He also held a final round of face-to-face talks with Mr Zelensky, with whom he has grown close, as the country prepares to enter winter still in conflict with Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) display a new postage stamp ‘Free. Unbreakable. Invincible!’ which was made for Independence Day, during a press conference following their meeting at the Mariinsky palace in Kyiv, Ukraine, 24 August 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, awards Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022
Johnson was given Ukraine’s Honour of Freedom medal in recognition of Britain’s military assistance to the war-torn country
Order of Liberty medal presented to Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week in Kyiv is pictured
Mr Johnson said last week: ‘For the past six months, the UK has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine, supporting this sovereign country to defend itself from this barbaric and illegal invader.
‘Today’s package of support will give the brave and resilient Ukrainian Armed Forces another boost in capability, allowing them to continue to push back Russian forces and fight for their freedom.
‘What happens in Ukraine matters to us all, which is why I am here today to deliver the message that the UK is with you and will be with you for the days and months ahead, and you can and will win.’
As part of the package of British military support, Ukraine will be supplied with 2,000 state-of-the-art drones and anti-tank loitering munitions to help its forces better fight against Russian invaders.
Downing Street hopes this will bolster Ukraine’s long-range surveillance and defensive targeting ability.
Boris Johnson met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on 24 August as he made another surprise visit
The PM’s visit was his third to the Ukrainian capital since the start of Russia’s barbaric invasion in late February
Mr Johnson used the trip to announce a new £54million package of British military support, including the supply of 2,000 state-of-the-art drones and anti-tank loitering munitions
The PM has been keen to stress that Britain’s staunch support for Ukraine – and Mr Zelensky – will continue whoever replaces him as PM
Mr Johnson on Wednesday revealed Mr Zelensky urged him to ‘keep his hand in’ even after he departs as Prime Minister next week.
The outgoing PM vowed to ‘continue to campaign for Ukraine’ even after leaving office.
Speaking to the Daily Express in his final days as PM, Mr Johnson described how the Ukrainian leader had urged him to continue his efforts to support the under-siege country.
‘I saw him just the other day, and he’s keen for me to keep my hand in somehow,’ he told the newspaper.
‘You know, I’m not going to be a part of the new Government and to be clear about that, but I will obviously continue to campaign for Ukraine.’
Mr Johnson revealed how he told Mr Zelensky there would be no drop-off in British support for Ukraine under a new PM.
‘Liz and Rishi and I are absolutely at one on the whole thing,’ he added.
‘I was able to reassure him that there’s going to be no difference in British policy.’
The PM has consistently pointed to British support for Ukraine – together with Brexit and the speedy rollout of Covid vaccines – as one of his crowning achievements from his time in Downing Street.
Mr Johnson has refused to rule out a political comeback, amid speculation he is already plotting a second spell in Downing Street in the future.
In the meantime, he offered his ‘open support’ to either Ms Truss or Mr Sunak in ‘delivering on the agenda’ he began when he became PM in 2019.
‘I’m going to be there to help them, to support in any way I can and I mean that – it’s open support,’ Mr Johnson said.
‘I will basically be supporting the new administration but I think the new administration … my clear impression is that whatever happens the new administration will be delivering on the agenda – that’s the key thing.’
The PM said it was ‘tbc’ as to whether he would attend the Conservative Party in October.
It has recently been claimed Mr Johnson could make a major speech at the Birmingham gathering.
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