JULY 7, 2022
- Russia gloated over Boris Johnson announcing his resignation as the UK’s prime minister.
- “He doesn’t like us, we don’t like him either,” the Kremlin said.
- Meanwhile, Ukraine expressed sadness to see one of its strongest supporters depart as a world leader.
Russia on Thursday gloated over British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing his resignation, while the Ukrainian government expressed dismay over seeing one of its most ardent backers step down as a world leader as the Russian military continues its offensive in the Eastern European country.
Amid the ongoing violence of war, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apparent long game in Ukraine — a nefarious attempt to assert total and long-term control on the neighboring country — is coming into clear view.
From the introduction of Russian currency to the complete shuttering of Ukrainian broadcasting, the Kremlin is taking extreme measures to make Ukrainian towns look, feel, and operate like Russia.
Prior to the start of the war, Putin erroneously claimed that Ukraine was not an independent state, baselessly arguing that the country was a creation of the Soviet Union and part of Russia’s historic territory.
Now, as Russia’s invasion stretches into its third month, it seems Putin is aiming to make his claims a reality.
Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a post on Telegram said Johnson’s decision to quit stands as an “inglorious end” for a “stupid clown.”
Similarly, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, said, “The clown is going,” per Reuters.
“He is one of the main ideologues of the war against Russia until the last Ukrainian. European leaders should think about where such a policy leads,” Volodin said.
The Kremlin in March referred to Johnson, who has been a fierce critic of Putin, as the most active anti-Russian leaders. Along these lines, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Thursday said, “He doesn’t like us, we don’t like him either.”
Peskov said Russia “would like to hope that some day in Great Britain more professional people who can make decisions through dialogue will come to power.”
Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry, took a gleeful tone over Johnson’s demise.
“The moral of the story is: do not seek to destroy Russia,” Zakharova told reporters, Reuters reported. “Russia cannot be destroyed. You can break your teeth on it — and then choke on them.”
“Boris Johnson was hit by a boomerang launched by himself,” Zakharova added. “His comrades-in-arms turned him in.”
Johnson’s departure comes on the heels of a mounting pile of domestic scandals that led dozens of ministers to quit his government, increasing pressure on the British leader to quit. He’ll remain the UK’s prime minister until a replacement is selected.
During a speech announcing his resignation, Johnson addressed the Ukrainian people, saying: “Let me say now, to the people of Ukraine, that I know that we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes.” He was booed during his remarks.
Despite the negative sentiments felt toward Johnson by many in the UK, he’s a popular figure in Ukraine.
Referring to Johnson as a “friend,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a post on social media said “all Ukrainians were saddened by the news” of the British leader’s resignation. “We are sincerely grateful for the decisive and uncompromising help from the first days of the war,” he said.
Johnson was the first G7 leader to visit Kyiv following Russia’s unprovoked invasion in late February, and among the most vocal supporters of weapons shipments to the country as the Russian onslaught continues.
That said, Johnson stepping down is unlikely to dramatically shift the UK’s stance toward and support for Ukraine. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who is viewed as a top candidate to replace Johnson, in comments to Sky News on Thursday said that the UK was “full square” behind Ukraine.
“The assistance to Ukraine we give is not just one person — not me, not the prime minister,” Wallace said.