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12 Apr, 2024 13:59

West gets ‘fantastic value’ out of Ukraine – Boris Johnson

Kiev is fighting “for our own interest” at comparatively small cost, the former British prime minister has said
West gets ‘fantastic value’ out of Ukraine – Boris Johnson

The Ukrainians are fighting the West’s fight with Russia and do not ask for much, so the money and resources put into the country generate “fantastic value,” according to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The politician, who reportedly personally derailed a nascent peace agreement between Moscow and Kiev in 2022, discussed his policy choices on Thursday with students of Georgetown University, one of the leading breeding grounds of American political elites.

The theme of the lecture was the superiority of democracy, a political system “by which we kick the bastards out,” as the Conservative politician phrased it. Johnson himself was forced out in 2022, after a string of scandals and accusations that his government had deceived the British public.

Arming Ukraine against Russia is part of the global fight for democracy, he told the students. And the tens of billions of dollars it requires from the West are “a fraction of US annual defense spending.”

“There could be no more effective way of investing in Western security than investing in Ukraine, because those guys without a single pair of American boots on the ground are fighting for the West,” Johnson said. The Ukrainians “are effectively fighting our own fight, fighting for our own interests.”

Early in the conflict, the US and its allies assumed a Russian victory would be swift, and such an outcome “would have been a nightmare,” Johnson suggested, painting Ukraine as a vibrant democracy.

”In Ukrainian elections you don’t know the outcome in advance,” he said. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky declined to hold elections this year, citing the state of martial law. The deadline for Ukrainians to vote in a new leader passed in March, and Zelensky’s term will expire in May.

Johnson went on to claim that “in Ukraine journalists don’t get shot.” However, there have been several high profile incidents of media workers being killed in the country. Journalists Oles Buzina and Pavel Shermet were assassinated in 2015 and 2016 respectively. No one has been brought to trial in either case.

The former prime minister also said he was skeptical of claims that Donald Trump intends to pressure Kiev into ceding territory to Moscow, if re-elected as US president.

”Think about what it might mean to a new president to have a triumph for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the humiliation of the West,” he explained.

Trump was the first US leader to send weapons to Ukraine, Johnson recalled, stressing that the Republican’s actions would not necessarily follow his rhetoric.