The Embassy of Ukraine to the UK made a cheeky tweet late Saturday night with a photograph of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv. According to No.10 the surprise visit was said to be a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Zelensky thanked Prime Minister Johnson for his leadership, commitment to provide weapons and for the direct, very clear and specific position’ of Britain.
Johnson told Zelensky “The last few weeks the world has found new heroes and these heroes are the people of Ukraine”. He further stated President Putin’s actions had “permanently polluted his reputation and the reputation of his government”.
A video posted to Defence of Ukraine’s twitter account showed Johnson and Zelensky flanked by a small security team and media, taking a tour of Kyiv. Johnson was provided an opportunity to walk the streets alongside President Zelensky to view the damage caused by the ongoing strife and speak with locals about their experiences. One local thanked Boris Johnson, with Zelensky interpreting the conversation. Johnson then told the man Ukraine was lucky to have a President like Zelensky. Johnson was seen waving to the locals as he walked through the city of Kyiv, before stopping at a memorial.
Whilst responses to the tweet were mostly positive, some were cautious about the surprise visit, saying that “while I am pleased that UK is in a ‘show of solidarity’ with Ukraine, please be aware that as we are dealing with Mr Johnson it is indeed a ‘show’ of support. Please don’t rely on Mr Johnson to keep any promise he makes to Mr Zelensky”. Another said that whilst “I’m first in line to critique Mr Johnson a LOT…when he does something right, I can applaud that”. Others tweeted that the visit was “a boost for Ukrainian morale” and “an act of leadership and commitment to Ukraine”.
According to the BBC, following the meeting, Johnson announced that more weapons would be delivered to Ukraine and confirmed a further £770m in economic support for the country.