Beth Rigby breaks down Liz Truss' Tory election win
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Mr Johnson, who has been one of Ukraine’s most vocal backers and staunch supporters in its war against Russia, will formally resign as Prime Minister tomorrow (September 6) with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to replace him. The outgoing PM thanked Mr Zelensky for his “leadership and friendship” during a telephone call between the two today (September 5).
President Zelensky tweeted after the call: “Had a summing up conversation with @borisjohnson in his current capacity.
“On behalf of all [Ukrainian] people, I thanked him for his personal bravery, principles and a major contribution to countering [Russia’s] aggression.
“I look forward to cooperation with a great friend of [Ukraine] in a new status.”
Mr Johnson’s official spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister spoke to the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, this afternoon to thank him for his leadership and friendship.
“The Prime Minister made clear that he believed President Zelensky and his people can and will win the war in Ukraine.
“President Zelensky thanked the Prime Minister for believing in Ukraine and his people and updated on the recent progress of his armed forces in the south of the country.
“The Prime Minister said he was convinced the Ukrainian forces could continue to succeed in pushing back Russian forces and added that the UK remains steadfast in its support.
“The Prime Minister told President Zelensky it had been a privilege to work with him and support him and the leaders agreed to stay in close touch as friends.”
Mr Johnson has made four visits to war-torn Kyiv this year.
At the end of August he paid his last visit as PM, praising the country’s “indomitable” resistance to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s troops.
Mr Johnson has been described by Mr Zelensky as his “dear friend Boris”.
The PM said during the visit it was vital Europe keep up its military and economic support for Ukraine even as rising energy and food prices were causing some consumers pain.
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He said: “We also know that if we’re paying in our energy bills for the evils of Vladimir Putin, the people of Ukraine are paying in their blood.
“And that’s why we know we must stay the course. Because if Putin were to succeed, then no country on Russia’s perimeter would be safe, and … (that) would be a green light for every autocrat in the world that borders could be changed by force.”
Although Mr Johnson leaves office tomorrow (September 6), his successor, Liz Truss, has vowed to continue Britain’s support for Ukraine.
Mr Johnson also cautioned against any “creeping” attempt to normalise relations with Putin, saying: “This is not the time to advance some flimsy plan for negotiation with someone who is simply not interested. You can’t negotiate with a bear while it’s eating your leg.”
He added: “To all our friends, I simply say this, we must keep going. We must show as friends of Ukraine that we have the same strategic endurance as the people of Ukraine.”
Since he was forced to resign in July, Mr Johnson has sought to shape his legacy around the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Britain’s support for Ukraine.
He told MPs at his last PMQs in the same month: “We’ve helped, I’ve helped, get this country through a pandemic and help save another country from barbarism.
“And frankly, that’s enough to be going on with. Mission largely accomplished. I want to thank everybody here and hasta la vista, baby.”
He called on his then-unknown successor to “support Ukraine”, in parting advice delivered during his appearance in Parliament.
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