Boris Johnson – 2022 Speech in Kyiv to Visit President Zelenskyy

The speech made by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, in Kyiv on 9 April 2022.

Thank you very much Volodymyr. Thank you for having me today at this incredibly difficult time for you and your country. I want to begin by once again saluting the bravery of the people of Ukraine in defying the appalling aggression that we have seen. In the last few weeks the world has found new heroes, and those heroes are the people of Ukraine.

When I was here just a few weeks ago and we were in another room I think in your palace, the defence intelligence we had suggested Russia thought Ukraine could be engulfed in a matter of days and that Kyiv would fall in hours to their armies. And how wrong they were. I think that the Ukrainians have shown the courage of a lion, and you Volodymyr have given the roar of that lion.

I thank you for what you have been able to do, your leadership has been extraordinary. I think what Putin has done in places like Bucha and Irpin, his war crimes have permanently polluted his reputation and the reputation of his government.

It’s clear – and we discussed this at length – it’s clear that he has suffered a defeat but his retreat is tactical and he is going to intensify the pressure now in Donbas and in the east.

That’s why it’s so vital as you rightly say Volodymyr that we, your friends, continue to offer whatever support we can. Together with our partners, we are going to ratchet up the economic pressure and we continue to intensify week by week the sanctions on Russia. Not just freezing assets in banks and sanctioning oligarchs, but moving away from use of Russian hydrocarbons.

We will give you the support that you need, the economic support but also of course the defensive military support in which I’m proud to say the UK helped to lead the way. Just the other day we raised I think £1.5bn at a donor conference from friends, partners around the world, dozens and dozens of countries that now want to support Ukraine.

We want to liberalise trade with Ukraine as we go forward to help your economic circumstances, barley and other commodities – there are things we should be doing. We want to help with demining your country, getting rid of the savage traps that the Russian army has left behind.

To come to your central point Volodymyr, I think we are evolving a vision now for the future. Heraclitus said war is the father of all things – that was an exaggeration, war isn’t the father of everything – but what this war is certainly producing is a clarity about the vision of a future for Ukraine.

Where together with friends and partners, we – the UK and others – supply the equipment, the technology, the know-how, the intelligence, so that Ukraine will never be invaded again. So Ukraine is so fortified and protected that Ukraine can never be bullied again. Never be blackmailed again. Never be threatened in the same way again.

In the meantime, there is a huge amount to do to make sure that Ukraine is successful, that Ukraine wins, and that Putin must fail.

Over the last few hours I’ve been able to see quite a lot of your beautiful country, and it’s an amazing country. I’ve also seen the tragic effects of the war. An inexcusable war, an absolutely inexcusable and unnecessary war.

But having been here in Kyiv for just a few hours, I have no doubt Volodymyr, listening to too listening to your team, your redoubtable team, I have no doubt at all that an independent sovereign Ukraine will rise again thanks above all to the heroism, the courage of the people of Ukraine. Thank you very much and slava Ukraini [glory to Ukraine].