Russia waves goodbye to ‘unprofessional, stupid clown’ as Boris Johnson resigns

Mikhailo Podolyak posted a tribute to Mr Johnson after the prime minister’s resignation speech praising his leadership.

“To be a leader is to call Russia evil and to take responsibility at the most critical times. To be a leader is to be the first to come to Kyiv despite rocket fire,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to Mr Johnson’s visit in April , shortly after Russian forces retreated from the outskirts of the city.

“Thank you @BorisJohnson for understanding the threat of the Russian monster and always being at the forefront of supporting Ukraine.”

Pavlo Klimkin, a former Ukrainian foreign minister, said the news would be greeted with dismay in Kyiv not because Ukrainians doubted British commitment but because they saw Mr Johnson’s personal style as an asset in rallying the West.

“Of course disappointment will be there. It is not about UK support. People understand it is going to stay. But the sense of personal engagement Boris carries, and his personal sympathy for Ukraine will be leaving,” he told the Telegraph.

“The second point, which is politically important for us, is this: Of course UK support would be there and I don’t expect this support to get lower.

“But Boris, because of his emotion, because of his vision of the situation was and is in front of the others. He was leading the West on so many occasions, politically but also emotionally. Whether a new UK leader will lead the west emotionally on Ukraine, or whether she or he will play more in a kind of partnership with the US, is an open question.

Outspoken supporter of Ukraine

Mr Johnson has been one of Ukraine’s most outspoken supporters among foreign leaders, visiting president Volodomyr Zelensky in Kyiv twice since the war began.

His government was one of the first to send lethal aid to Ukraine in the days before the war.

The NLAW anti-tank missiles it provided have been widely credited with helping defeat Russia’s attack on Kyiv in February and March.

Mr Johnson claimed credit for leading the Western response to Russia’s invasion in his resignation speech, adding: “Let me say now to the people in Ukraine that I know that we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom as long as it takes .”

The government’s Ukraine policy is backed by all parties in the House of Commons, and is unlikely to change under a new prime minister.

However, it has won Mr Johnson widespread popularity in Ukraine, where soldiers on checkpoints will often greet a British passport with words of praise for the prime minister.

His support for Ukraine has been described as opportunistic, however, with critics noting a correlation between challenges to his leadership and telephone calls to Mr Zelensky.

He was reported to have scheduled another call to Mr Zelensky immediately after aides briefed journalists that he would resign on Monday morning.

Questions have also been asked about his attitude to Russia before the current war.

On Wednesday he admitted in front of a House of Commons committee that he had met the former KGB spy Alexander Lebedev without officials present. The meeting occurred in Italy in 2018, when he was a foreign secretary.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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