Johnson reassures Kyiv of steadfast UK support after he leaves office

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday reassured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that London would support Kyiv in its resistance to Russia's invasion after he has left office.

Johnson, who has been one of Ukraine's biggest backers during its five-month war with Russia, is set to hand power over to a successor in early September after pledging to resign this month following months of scandals.

The two candidates vying to replace him -- ex-finance minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss -- have both said they will maintain the policy of providing strong diplomatic and military support to Kyiv.

In a phone call with Zelensky Friday, Johnson reiterated that London "will not waver" in that stance.

"He stressed the UK's ongoing determination to support the Ukrainian people and said that resolve will not waver, no matter who becomes the next UK Prime Minister," a Downing Street spokeswoman said in a summary of their conversation.

"President Zelensky thanked the PM for his staunch support for Ukraine, and for his kind words in his last address to parliament."

In Johnson's final appearance at weekly "Prime Minister's Questions" in the House of Commons Wednesday, the outgoing British leader said he wanted to give "some words of advice" to his successor.

"No. 1: stay close to the Americans; stick up for the Ukrainians; stick up for freedom and democracy everywhere," he said, to cheers from colleagues in his ruling Conservative party.

Johnson has been one of the West's most active and vocal supporters of Ukraine, visiting Kyiv twice since the war erupted and spearheading the sending of billions of pounds of UK military aid.

Foreign affairs experts have said his imminent departure is highly unlikely to diminish London's strong backing for the eastern European nation.

"Boris Johnson has been the frontman for this policy, but it's whole-of-British-government policy," Peter Ricketts, a former UK national security advisor and ambassador to France, said earlier this month.

"Whoever was prime minister would have done much the same thing," although "Johnson brought his own particular style to it," he added.

In Friday's call, Johnson also welcomed the announcement Friday of a UN-brokered deal to get grain out of Ukraine via the Black Sea.

"Both the Prime Minister and President Zelensky stressed the need for the deal to be implemented in full by all parties," Johnson's spokeswoman added.

jj/phz/gw

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting