Boris is my true friend: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pens tribute to outgoing Prime Minister for his help help in the face of Russia’s invasion
- Mr Zelensky said the PM was a ‘true friend’ who acted ‘resolutely’ to help Ukraine
- The Ukrainian leader said other world leaders had not shown the same ‘courage’
- Mr Johnson was the first world leader to visit Kyiv after the invasion by Russia
- Rumoured that he could become an envoy to the country when he leaves office
Boris Johnson’s legacy as a hero to the people of Ukraine has been bolstered by a remarkable tribute from President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In a powerful message in today’s Mail on Sunday, the leader of the war-torn nation hailed the outgoing Prime Minister as a ‘true friend’ who had always acted ‘swiftly and resolutely’ to offer help in the face of Russia’s invasion.
Mr Zelensky said the UK was his country’s ‘dearest friend and closest ally’ under Mr Johnson, and praised the PM’s ‘courage and determination’ in championing support for Ukraine. ‘At each and every meeting and conversation Boris had one very good question, “What else? What else do you need?”,’ he said. ‘It became our watchword, guaranteeing effective progress and movement forward.’
With a pointed comment aimed at other world leaders – some of whom have urged compromise with Russian President Vladimir Putin – Mr Zelensky added: ‘Believe me, not many politicians are ready to do this.’ Mr Johnson formed a strong bond with Mr Zelensky during the conflict and became the first world leader to visit Kyiv following the invasion. It has been rumoured that the outgoing PM could become an envoy to the country after he leaves office this week.
Mr Zelensky thanked Boris for walking with him through the streets of Kyiv in April, and again on Ukraine’s independence day last week.
Mr Zelensky thanked Boris for walking with him through the streets of Kyiv in April, and again on Ukraine’s independence day last week (pictured)
‘Boris Johnson, as his nation’s envoy, was with us, welcomed by ordinary Ukrainians,’ he said. ‘We even started to address him, warmly and humorously, as “Boris Johnsoniuk” – a Ukrainian-sounding surname if you put a stress on the last syllable.’
The Ukrainian leader praised the UK’s ‘unwavering’ support and ongoing financial and humanitarian aid, as well as its introduction of sanctions against Russia. He added: ‘But I believe in the power of personal leadership. I know it has not been an easy ride for Boris Johnson as he had to deal with many internal challenges. Prioritising support for Ukraine demanded a great courage and determination.’
Mr Zelensky leader also thanked Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – who is almost certain to replace Mr Johnson in Downing Street this week – and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, calling them ‘great leaders and great friends’.
Mr Zelensky said he would establish ‘close relations’ with new PM, adding: ‘I sincerely wish that Boris’s legacy be preserved.’ (Pictured: Boris Johnson receiving The Order of Liberty Medal on Ukraine’s Independence Day)
He said he would establish ‘close relations’ with new PM, adding: ‘I sincerely wish that Boris’s legacy be preserved.’ Mr Zelensky also paid tribute the British, saying that the ‘sheer number of charitable donations have put much bigger nations to shame’.
‘Thousands of caring Britons opened up their hearts and homes to allow more than a hundred thousand Ukrainian women and children to find refuge in the UK,’ he said.
‘That has helped many of our soldiers to fight on without worrying about their families.’ He said that the number of Ukrainian flags ‘flying high and proud’ throughout the UK showed solidarity.
‘Everyone in the UK should know that every day of struggle for their very existence, the Ukrainian people are immensely grateful to everyone in your country,’ he said.
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