World

Boris in Kyiv Kremlin glee as world reacts to Johnson endgame

The Kremlin in Moscow has taken a swipe at outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has overseen consistent British support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion.

President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mr Johnson “really does not like us – and we [do not like] him either”.

Meanwhile, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova told reporters Mr Johnson had been “hit by a boomerang launched by himself”, adding that the moral of the story was “do not seek to destroy Russia”.

But Ukraine struck the opposite tone: the presidency thanked the politician for his support in “the most difficult of times”, according to news agency AFP.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky developed a close relationship with Mr Johnson since the start of the war. His adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, earlier took to Twitter to thank him for being “the first to arrive in Kyiv, despite missile attacks” and “always being at the forefront of supporting” Ukraine.

The Russian officials were not the only critics, however, with a number noting the strained relations Mr Johnson had had at times with international partners following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, which he championed and eventually saw through.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s former Brexit coordinator, said “EU-UK relations suffered hugely with Johnson’s choice of Brexit”, adding his reign was ending in “disgrace, just like his friend Donald Trump”.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s former chief negotiator, said Mr Johnson’s departure “opens a new page in relations with” the UK – one he hoped would be “more constructive, more respectful of commitments made, in particular regarding peace & stability in Northern Ireland, and more friendly”.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin also saw the resignation as a chance for a reset in relations with the UK. He acknowledged in an official statement that he “didn’t always agree” with Mr Johnson, saying relations between the governments had been “strained and challenged in recent times”.

“We have now an opportunity to return to the true spirit of partnership and mutual respect that is needed to underpin the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.”

News outlets around the world have also been following the dramatic events as they happened.

Here are our correspondents in the US, Singapore and Europe with the view from where they are.

Boris Johnson has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump through much of his ascent to the heights of British politics.

Now he’s taking a page out of the former US president’s playbook.

Concede nothing. Brush off the criticism. Press on. Make them tear the power from your hands.

If there’s one thing the former president proved in American politics, it is that norms and political traditions only matter if you acknowledge them. And that’s something Mr Trump never did.

Even in his darkest days as president – through two impeachments and countless “has he finally gone too far?” controversies – Trump would point to his loyal base and cite, sometimes without evidence, the enormous support he had in surveys of Republicans and the comfortable margin by which he won the electoral (but not popular) vote in 2016.

Mr Johnson had pursued a similar strategy, citing the support of the millions who voted Conservative in the 2019 election, rather than the dissatisfaction of dozens of politicians and party functionaries who have abandoned him in recent days.

Never mind that the US and British systems of government are decidedly different and that a presidential claim to a popular mandate – when voters checked a box next to their name on the ballot – is considerably stronger than that of a prime minister who governs at the behest of their party.

And set aside that only in Mr Trump’s final weeks, after he had lost his re-election and a mob of his supporters attacked the US Capitol, did he see a mass exodus of advisors akin to what Mr Johnson is experiencing.

Mr Trump showed that claiming to be the voice of the people against the elite establishment can be the political equivalent of a bulletproof vest. That’s a lesson Mr Johnson seems to have taken to heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button