Former British PM says Ukraine provides ‘fantastic value’ for Western interests

Kiev is fighting “for our own interest” at comparatively small cost, the former British prime minister has said

The Ukrainians are defending Western interests and fighting against Russia with relatively little assistance requested in return, according to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The money and resources provided to Ukraine generate “fantastic value,” he said. Johnson, who reportedly personally disrupted a potential peace agreement between Moscow and Kiev in 2022, discussed his policy choices during a lecture to students at Georgetown University on Thursday. Georgetown is one of the leading institutions that cultivates American political elites. The theme of the lecture was the superiority of democracy, which Johnson described as a political system “by which we kick the bastards out.” Johnson himself was forced to resign in 2022 following a series of scandals and accusations that his government had misled 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 required from the West make up only “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 swift Russian victory would occur, and such an outcome “would have been a nightmare,” Johnson suggested, portraying 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.