Zelensky thanks Boris for his support in video address after PM stood down

Zelensky thanks Boris for his support in video address after PM stood down

July 8, 2022

Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked Boris Johnson for supporting his country ‘from the first day of the Russian terror’.

The Ukrainian president sent the message to Mr Johnson in his nightly video address on Thursday just hours after the British prime minister finally agreed to resign.

Mr Zelensky said news of Mr Johnson’s decision to quit was the ‘main topic (of conversation) in our country’.

He said Britain had held a leading global role ‘in the protection of freedoms’ and ‘the leadership and charisma of the head of state are always of exceptional importance’.

Listing the weapons and ‘many other things’ Britain has supplied to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February, Mr Zelensky thanked Mr Johnson for the ‘substantial political support, strong sanctions against Russia and financial assistance’ to Ukraine.

‘Britain’s role in protecting freedom is truly global,’ he added.

‘Whatever is happening in London’s rooms of power, Great Britain’s support for Ukraine should not change.’

The Ukrainian president said when he had expressed his gratitude to Mr Johnson earlier that day as the two spoke by phone, the Tory leader had offered assurances the UK would remain steadfast in its support of the war-torn nation.

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Mr Johnson made several visits to Ukraine during his premiership and after Russia invaded.

In April he surprised the world by making travelling to Kyiv in secret to meet with Mr Zelensky at a time when the capital was still very much a target for Russian forces.

Downing Street said the visit was a ‘show of solidarity’ with Ukraine.

He was back in the capital again last month, visiting Mr Zelensky on June 17 to discuss a new military training programme.

Mr Johnson announced his resignation after more than 50 ministers resigned from the government.

The move marked the end of a chaotic 72 hours in British politics that came after three tumultuous years in Downing Street during which Mr Johnson faced numerous scandals.

But the 58-year-old was finally brought down by his handling of the scandal surrounding Chris Pincher.

On Monday Downing Street confirmed Mr Johnson was aware of concerns about the conduct of Mr Pincher when he made him deputy chief whip.

His spokesperson later conceded he had known of ‘speculation’ surrounding the MP, but ‘no formal complaint at that time’.

The admission sparked the beginning of the end for Mr Johnson, with a slew of high-profile resignations from his government on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In his resignation speech yesterday Mr Johnson made numerous references to the conflict in Ukraine and Britain’s role in ‘leading the west in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine’.

The key events that led to Boris Johnson’s resignation

The news that Boris Johnson is set to resign as prime minister follows a tumultuous few days in British politics.

After surviving a vote of no confidence in June, the government’s handling of the Chris Pincher scandal marked the end of Mr Johnson’s time in office.

Here’s a run down of the key events which have led us here.

Monday, July 4

Downing Street confirmed Mr Johnson was aware of concerns about the conduct of Mr Pincher when he made him deputy chief whip. His spokesperson later conceded he had known of ‘speculation’ surrounding the MP, but ‘no formal complaint at that time’.

Tuesday, July 5

  • Lord Simon McDonald, former permanent secretary in the Foreign Office, publishes a bombshell letter claiming Mr Johnson was briefed ‘in person’ about a formal complaint regarding Mr Pincher.
  • 12.30pm: Labour is granted an urgent question in Parliament to address the Pincher scandal and what the prime minister knew.
  • Tory MPs line up in the House of Commons to publicly condemn Mr Johnson’s handling of the affair.
  • 1pm: Downing Street said Mr Johnson had forgotten he had been told Mr Pincher was the subject of an official complaint.
  • Tory backbenchers start publicly calling for Mr Johnson’s resignation.
  • Shortly before 6pm: Mr Johnson is forced to issue an apology over his handling of the Pincher scandal.
  • At 6.02pm Sajid Javid resigns as health secretary, saying the British people ‘rightly expect integrity from their government’.
  • 6.11pm: Chancellor Rishi Sunak resigns.
  • What will become a steady stream of resginations begins.
  • 9.40pm: Nadhim Zahawi is appointed chancellor, Michelle Donelan becomes education secretary and Steve Barclay is made health secretary.

Wednesday, July 6

  • 8.25am: Will Quince becomes the first minister of the day to resign while backbenchers including Lee Anderson and Robert Halfon publicly withdraw their support for Mr Johnson.
  • 12pm: Mr Johnson defies calls to resign during PMQs citing his ‘colossal mandate’ in 2019. He vows to keep going.
  • 2.25pm: Ministers Kemi Badenoch, Julia Lopez, Mims Davies, Lee Rowley, Neil O’Brien and Alex Burghart announced their resignations via a group letter and call on the prime minister to go.
  • 2.40pm: The Daily Mail reports that cabinet minister Michael Gove has told the prime minister he must step down.
  • 3pm: Amid unfolding chaos, the prime minister appears before the Liaison Committee to answer questions about his handling of the Pincher affair.
  • A delegation of ministers, including some of Mr Johnson’s longest-standing allies meet with him to urge him to resign.
  • 8.15pm: Mr Johnson rejects calls for his resignation after meeting with ministers.
  • 9pm: Mr Johnson sacks Michael Gove as Levelling Up, Communities and Housing Secretary.
  • 10.30pm Simon Hart resigns as Welsh Secretary.
  • 11pm: Attorney General Suella Braverman says it’s time for the prime minister ‘to go’.

Thursday, July 7

  • The Tory party exodus continues and by 9am 27 resignations have been filed, five at cabinet level, and 22 below cabinet level.
  • Among them are Brandon Lewis the Northern Ireland secretary and Michelle Donelan, the newly appointed education secretary.
  • Nadhim Zahawi publishes a blistering open letter calling on the prime minister to resign.
  • Shortly after 9am the news breaks that Mr Johnson has agreed to resign as British prime minister.

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