Boris Johnson ‘Worth More Than a Squadron of Tanks’, Says Ukraine Defence Ministry

KYIV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 22: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - 'UKRANIAN PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Ukraine's capital Kyiv on January 22, 2023. …
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Boris Johnson may no longer be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom but that has done nothing to diminish his standing in Kyiv, as he makes yet another visit to Ukraine after leaving the WEF meeting in Davos.

Making a surprise visit to Kyiv and meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, Boris Johnson said it was a “privilege” to be back in Ukraine just days after he was given ‘honorary Citizenship‘ in a ceremony at Davos last week.

Johnson toured former battlefields including Bucha and Borodyanka, the BBC reports, which were occupied by Russian forces last year but are now controlled by the Kyiv government again.

The former UK Prime Minister, who appears to be betting on being right on Ukraine to secure himself something of a legacy after an otherwise rather hit-and-miss time in Westminster, used his visit to call for more arms to be sent to Ukraine to escalate the war and crush Russia. He said: “The only way to end this war is for Ukraine to win – and to win as fast as possible… This is the moment to double down, and to give the Ukrainians all the tools they need to finish the job.

“The sooner Putin fails, the better for Ukraine and for the whole world.”

While Zelensky welcomed Johnson as “a true friend of Ukraine”, the most glowing words were from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence, who said of their visitor: “Friends like these are worth more than a squadron of tanks”.

It is quite likely that Johnson’s comments about giving Ukrainians “all the tools”, and the Ministry’s allusions to a squadron of tanks, refer to the ongoing debate in Germany about Leopard-2 main battle tanks. Poland and Finland have said they want to donate their tanks to Ukraine to help start a fresh counter-offensive against Russia on the ground this year, but because they were imported from Germany long-standing agreements prevent them from being re-exported without Berlin’s permission.

While it was thought Germany would put aside its objections to seeing its own tanks roll towards Moscow again this week, they have stuck to their guns. The basic German position, for now, is that they won’t send tanks to Ukraine unless the U.S. does so first, possibly as this gives them credible cover as not being first-movers. Warsaw, for their part, have indicated they may just ignore Berlin and send them anyway, although this would likely have repercussions on future defence equipment sales.

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