Boris Johnson, Former British Prime Minister, met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on a surprise trip to the capital Kyiv on Sunday, and pledged that Britain would “stick by Ukraine as long as it takes.”
Boris Johnson, who resigned from office last September due to a series of scandals, was Prime Minister till in February when Russia annexed Ukraine, and he desired to have the UK as Ukraine’s ally in the West.
On his trip, Johnson visited the suburbs, Borodyanka and Bucha, of the Ukrainian capital which witnessed barbarity when Russian forces attacked Kyiv in the first phase of the invasion before being repelled.
Johnson told the mayor of Bucha, “I can tell you that the UK will be sticking by Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
Speaking through an interpreter, he said, “You’re going to win and you’re going to get all the Russians out of your country, but we will be there for the long term. And we will also want to be helping you to reconstruct.”
Johnson has rejected that his activity in Ukraine was viewed as undermining British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. When Johnson was in office, he toured Kyiv several times and frequently called on Zelenskyy.
While the former British prime minister became involved in scandals in Britain, he gained popularity in Ukraine where he was affectionately known as “Boris Johnsonuik”. In Kyiv, cafes named cakes after him and his name was used in street art.
He took selfies with the residents in Bucha and paid a tribute to the victims of the war. He also visited a church to see an exhibition and signed the Ukrainian edition of his book, about Winston Churchill, for a priest.
In Borodyanak, he walked streets in the destroyed residential blocks. Oleksiy Kuleba, Kyiv regional governor, who accompanied Johnson, said that 162 residents were killed in the month-long Russian annexation of the town last year. About 60% of the residents have returned, said Kuleba.
In Kyiv, Johnson was welcomed by Zelenskyy and top officials including the foreign minister and the head of the president’s office who were present in the yard near the presidential administration in the heart of the city.
Britain, last week, said it would supply 14 Challenger 2 tanks and other weaponry to Ukraine.