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Johnson Reassures Zelenskiy Of Ongoing Support From U.K. After He Leaves Office

By RFE/RL July 22, 2022

Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a phone call on July 22 that British support for Ukraine will "not waver" regardless of who becomes the next prime minister.

Johnson "stressed the U.K.'s ongoing determination to support the Ukrainian people and said that resolve will not waver" after the Conservative Party chooses his replacement.

Johnson announced his resignation on July 7 amid a wave of scandals and defections by his Cabinet ministers. He said he would remain in his post until the party elects a new leader in September.

The two candidates vying to replace him -- former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss -- have both said they will maintain strong diplomatic and military support to Kyiv.

Johnson has been one of the West's most active and vocal supporters of Ukraine, visiting Kyiv twice since the war began and spearheading billions of pounds of U.K. military aid.

In Johnson's final appearance at weekly prime minister's questions in the House of Commons on July 20, the British leader said he wanted to give "some words of advice" to his successor.

"No. 1: Stay close to the Americans; stick up for the Ukrainians; stick up for freedom and democracy everywhere," he said to cheers from Conservative Party colleagues.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said in their latest call that Zelenskiy thanked Johnson again for his staunch support for Ukraine.

The spokeswoman said the prime minister outlined the recent steps that Britain has taken to bolster Ukraine's resistance, including training thousands of Ukrainian troops in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom is working to expand the training effort, including through the involvement of international partners, she said. Zelenskiy said the military support being provided by the United Kingdom and others is making a real difference in the conflict, she added.

Johnson also welcomed the announcement in Turkey of a UN-brokered deal to get grain out of Ukraine through Ukraine's Black Sea ports. The move ends a standoff that had threatened food security around the world.

"Both the prime minister and President Zelenskiy stressed the need for the deal to be implemented in full by all parties," she said.

Johnson also spoke with Zelenskiy about the treatment of British prisoners being held by Russian-backed forces, thanking Zelenskiy for his government's efforts to secure detainees' freedom, the spokeswoman said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP and dpa

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/johnson-reassures-zelenskiy- ongoing-uk-support/31955810.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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