Zelensky enraged after Canadian sanction exemption for Russia
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In a virtual ceremony held today, the outgoing Prime Minister presented the Ukrainian President with the Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award. Mr Johnson has invoked World War Two rhetoric on a number of occasions since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
The wartime leader is among his historical heroes, about whom he has written a biography: The Churchill Factor.
Presenting the award over video link, Mr Johnson said “Churchill would have cheered and probably have wept too” when the Ukrainian President insisted he needed “ammunition, not a ride” out of Kyiv in February.
The Prime Minister added that he could imagine Sir Winston’s “spirit walking with you” and “jabbing the way ahead with his walking stick” through every ordeal in the ongoing conflict.
Mr Zelensky responded: “This is my extreme honour to receive this award for leadership.
“Ukraine was not left alone after February 24, we had those who were helping us, who remembered in the darkest times what is honour, and who have not thought of quitting the struggle.
“I’m talking about you Boris.”
He added: “This award is yours as well and this is the manifestation of our joint leadership of Ukrainians, Britons and all those who will not give their freedom away to any tyrants.”
The event, held at Number 10, was attended by members of the Churchill family and of the International Churchill Society.
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Downing Street said the award was given “for incredible courage, defiance and dignity in the face of Putin’s barbaric invasion”.
Upon meeting Mr Zelensky in Kyiv for the second time since February, Mr Johnson said – and has since repeated on countless occasions – that the UK would “be with you until you ultimately prevail”.
He added: “As Ukrainian soldiers fire UK missiles in defence of your nation’s sovereignty, they do so also in defence of the very freedoms we take for granted.”
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Despite his leaving office, it is expected the UK’s approach to the war in Ukraine will remain as it is today.
Both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, the two remaining Tory leadership candidates, have pledged to uphold their support for Kyiv.
Arms support may not, however, be able to keep up with moral support as the UK’s own stockpiles could prevent it from sending as many materials as Ukraine is requesting.
The country recently had to buy howitzers from a third party to send to Ukraine due to its own shortages.
Shortly after, a report in the Financial Times suggested the West could be running out of ammunition to supply Ukraine.
But such support is essential, given that intelligence shows Ukraine is massively outgunned to Russia both in artillery and ammunition.
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