Monday, January 23, 2023
London – (dpa)
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a surprise visit to Ukraine, saying it was an “honour” to be there to show solidarity with the war-torn country.
Johnson, who faces fresh charges over his private finances, visited Borodyanka in Kyiv.
He said he had traveled to Ukraine at the invitation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The British government confirmed that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak supports the former prime minister’s visit, after allegations indicated that the visit could undermine the prime minister’s authority.
“It is a great honor to visit Ukraine at the invitation of President Zelensky. The people of Ukraine have been suffering for so long,” British news agency BA Media quoted Johnson as saying in a statement.
“The only way to end this war is for Ukraine to win – and win as soon as possible. This is the time to redouble the effort and give the Ukrainians all the tools they need to finish the job.”
“The sooner Putin fails, the better for Ukraine and the whole world,” he stressed.
A spokesman for Johnson added that he fully supports the UK government’s policy on Ukraine, including the recent decision to send Challenger 2 tanks.
The Ukrainian president has reaffirmed his country’s desire to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to protect it from Russia.
Andriy Yermak, director of the Ukrainian President’s Office in Kyiv, said on Sunday that Zelensky, during a meeting with Johnson, described his country’s membership in NATO as “the best guarantee of security” for Ukraine, noting that it is important to advance the goal of NATO membership effectively.
Russian President Vladimir Putin described Ukraine’s quest to join NATO as the cause of the war launched by Moscow, and Putin stipulated that Kyiv permanently abandon its efforts to obtain membership in the Western alliance to resolve the conflict, as Russia claims that the potential presence of NATO in Ukraine would represent a threat to its security. .
Yermak added that Zelensky and Johnson also talked about the peace summit proposed by Ukraine, for which no date has been set yet.
Russia had rejected Zelensky’s demands for security guarantees and the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, describing them as unrealistic demands.
For his part, Johnson confirmed in a video clip broadcast by Zelensky on Telegram that he had come to Kyiv in order to help Ukraine in difficult times. Zelensky’s meeting was preceded by Johnson’s visit to the suburbs of Bucha and Borodyanka in the capital, Kyiv.
It is noteworthy that Russia faces accusations of committing the most serious war crimes in these two suburbs.
A United Nations commission of inquiry announced last year that it had documented various Russian “war crimes” in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian authorities also said that about 20,000 war crimes have been recorded since the start of the Russian war.
Russia denies any war crimes were committed in Ukraine.