Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was saddened by the news of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation on Thurs
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was saddened by the news of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation on Thursday, calling the soon-to-be former UK leader “a true friend to Ukraine.”
Johnson called Zelensky after delivering his resignation speech in front of 10 Downing Street to deliver assurances that British support for Ukraine would continue after he leaves office, according to both leaders.
Zelensky took the opportunity to thank Johnson on the way out the door for “his decisive and uncompromising support” and “leadership” in defending Ukraine on the global stage, the president’s office said.
“We all accepted this news with sadness. Not only me, but also the entire Ukrainian society, which is very sympathetic to you,” Zelensky told Johnson, according to the Kyiv readout.
“My entire office and all Ukrainians are grateful to you for your help. We have no doubt that Great Britain’s support will remain, but your personal leadership and charisma made it special,” he added.
Zelensky also praised Johnson in an interview with CNN, telling host Wolf Blitzer that Ukraine “gained a lot from Boris Johnson’s activities.”
“What Johnson was doing for Ukraine – he was a true friend to Ukraine,” Zelensky said, according to a translation.
He added, “The United Kingdom is on the right side of history and I’m sure the policy of the UK toward Ukraine won’t be changing.”
Johnson, for his part, pledged that the UK will continue to supply defensive aid “for as long as needed” and told Zelensky he would work in the coming weeks to try to end a Russian blockade of Ukraine grain exports, according to the British readout of their discussion.
Johnson, who has visited Ukraine twice since Russia invaded the country Feb. 24, reportedly ended the call by telling Zelensky, “You’re a hero, everybody loves you.”
Johnson announced he would resign after a series of scandals eroded his support from within his party and saw nearly 60 of his fellow lawmakers resign from the government. He has vowed to stay in power until a new Conservative Party leader is chosen, a process that is expected to take several weeks.
Russian leaders were less complimentary of the departing prime minister.
“As for Mr. Johnson, he dislikes us very much,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday. “We dislike him, too.”
With Post wires