‘Putin delighted to see back of Boris’ as ousted Johnson ‘set a very high bar’ for next PM

Putin 'will be delighted to see back of Boris Johnson' says Coughlin

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Boris Johnson’s work to position the United Kingdom as one of Ukraine’s leading allies has seen Britain pledge £2.3 billion in military aid to Kyiv. Mr Johnson’s strong stance in support of Ukraine was not enough to keep a lid on internal Conservative Party disquiet which eventually forced the Prime Minister to quit this week. The reaction to Mr Johnson’s downfall was likely toasted within the halls of the Kremlin, according to defence expert and author, Con Coughlin. 

The Telegraph’s Defence Editor told GB News: “Vladimir Putin and all the other cronies around him in the Kremlin will be delighted to see the backer Boris Johnson because he’s the one person who stood up to them.

“I wouldn’t say that Boris has a completely unblemished record when it comes to the Russians that for my liking, there’s been far too much Russian money sloshing around London. And despite all the pledges after the Salisbury attacks in 2018, successive Conservative governments have not done enough to confront the way the Russians have infiltrated British society.

“So there’s a lot more work to be done there.

“But I think in terms of NATO, I mean, Boris Johnson has set a very high bar, and I think as I said, when the conservative party comes to judge who should replace him, these are very serious issues, and you cannot ignore them.”

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He continued: “If post-Brexit and if we’re talking about global Britain, what we’ve done with Ukraine, it started to reassert Britain’s identity as a separate world power that stands for something and I think we any future prime minister who undermines that status does so at their peril.”

Ninety minutes after resigning as British prime minister on Thursday, Mr Johnson called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

He told the Ukrainian leader his people had the UK’s unwavering support in its fight against Russia, and said Britain would continue to supply vital defensive aid for as long as needed.

“You’re a hero, Volodymyr,” he said, according to an aide who listened to the call. 

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“In this country, everybody loves you.”

In the months since Russia invaded Ukraine, Britain has become an important go-between for Zelensky.

Supporting Ukraine has been a crucial part of Johnson’s premiership.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has described him as a “true friend of Ukraine.”

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Since the February 24 invasion, Russian forces have taken control of a big chunk of territory across Ukraine’s southern flank above Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Russia is slowly pushing Ukrainian forces out of two Russian-backed rebel regions of east Ukraine which it has recognised as independent states.

When asked how the conflict might end, Russian Ambassador Andrei Kelin said it was difficult to see Russian and Russian-backed forces withdrawing from the south of Ukraine, and that Ukraine’s soldiers would be pushed back from all of Donbas.

“We are going to liberate all of the Donbas,” Kelin told Reuters in an interview in his London residence where Winston Churchill used to discuss World War Two strategy with Josef Stalin’s ambassador.

“Of course it is difficult to predict the withdrawal of our forces from the southern part of Ukraine because we have already experience that after withdrawal, provocations start and all the people are being shot and all that.”

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