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23 Nov, 2022 07:10

Germany wanted Ukraine to ‘fold’ to Russia – Johnson

Prior to the conflict, Berlin believed a long conflict would be a disaster, the former UK prime minister says
Germany wanted Ukraine to ‘fold’ to Russia – Johnson

Germany was initially in favor of Ukraine being quickly overrun by Russia rather than putting up a long fight, due to economic concerns, former British prime minister Boris Johnson claimed on Monday.

Speaking to CNN Portugal, Johnson noted that before Moscow launched its military operation in late February, several Western nations had “very different perspectives” on the brewing conflict.

According to the former prime minister, “the German view was at one stage that if it were going to happen, which would be a disaster, then it would be better for the whole thing to be over quickly, and for Ukraine to fold.” He added that this attitude was supported by “all sorts of sound economic reasons”. 

Johnson went on to say that the French leadership was “in denial right up until the last moment” on Russia’s plans to send troops into Ukraine, while the Italian authorities were “simply saying that they would be unable to support” the position embraced by other Western countries, given their “massive” dependence on Russian energy.

However, Johnson said Western countries were quick to rally round Kiev after large-scale hostilities broke out. “After all my anxieties… I pay tribute to the way the EU has acted. They have been united. The sanctions were tough,” he said.

Following the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Western countries have significantly ramped up sanctions against Moscow, freezing around half of Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves, a move that Russia has described as ‘theft.’ The West has also provided Ukraine with billions of dollars in security assistance. Moscow maintains that these arms shipments only prolong the conflict.

Boris Johnson announced his resignation in early July after a string of high-profile scandals. During his tenure, he forged close ties with President Vladimir Zelensky, who called him “a true friend” due to his “unwavering support” of Ukraine in its fight with Russia.