Zelenskyy expresses sadness at UK PM's exit, praises his ‘leadership, charisma’

Updated on Jul 07, 2022 09:30 PM IST
  • Ukraine's presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak thanked British PM Boris Johnson for immediately changing global politics to make them more responsible and not consider the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “small conflict”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement at Downing Street in London, Britain, July 7, 2022. (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement at Downing Street in London, Britain, July 7, 2022. (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)
Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday expressed his “sadness” on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement to step down from the top role. “Not only me, but also all of Ukrainian society which sympathises with you a lot,” the Ukrainian presidency quoted him as saying after Zelenskyy called the outgoing UK PM.

The Ukrainian president further said the country has no doubt about Britain's continued support in the face of Russian invasion. “But your personal leadership and your charisma made it special,” Zelensky told Johnson over the phone.

The two leaders also discussed military and political cooperation between Ukraine and the UK, and negotiations designed to unblock grain exports from Ukrainian ports, the presidency added.

Besides Zelenskyy, his aide Mykhaylo Podolyak thanked Johnson for supporting Ukraine in the “hardest times” following Russia's invasion of the east-European country. Posting a message on Twitter, Podolyak said that the outgoing British PM called a “spade a spade” since the beginning of the war.

Also Read | UK 'PM' Rishi Sunak? 5 things to know about Boris Johnson's potential successor

“To be a leader, to call Russia an evil and to take responsibility in the hardest times. To be a leader - to be the first to arrive in Kyiv, despite missile attacks. Thanks Boris Johnson for realising the threat of RF (Russian Federation) monster and always being at the forefront of supporting Ukraine,” Podolyak wrote on the micro-blogging site along with a video.

The presidential aide further praised Johnson for “immediately" changing global politics to make them more responsible and not consider the Russian offensive in Ukraine a “small conflict”.

“Today, we have everything we need for the effective defence of the country: weapons, partnership and coalition. And thanks to Johnson, we understand that victory is a real symbol of the future in Ukraine… And that is why, we're extremely grateful to Johnson for the opportunity to do our work effectively,” Podolyak said in the video.

After months of several scandals plaguing his government, including the lockdown party, Johnson on Thursday announced that he will step down after nearly 50 senior lawmakers quit. Later, addressing the media and the British public outside 10 Downing Street, he said that he will continue to serve in the top role until a new leader replaces him.

Also Read | Brexit to exit: The rise and fall of Boris Johnson

Johnson resigned as the Conservative Party leader and said the timetable for the process of choosing the next British prime minister will be announced next week. His address contained a special message for Ukraine. “To the people of Ukraine, me and the UK will continue to back your freedom for as long as it takes,” he said.

From Brexit to leading the West in standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine, Johnson said he is “immensely proud” of his government's achievements.

“In the last few days, I tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we're delivering so much and we have such a vast mandate and when we're actually only a handful of votes behind in the polls even in mid-term after quite a few months of pretty relentless sledging,” he added.

(With inputs from AFP, Reuters)

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