Boris Johnson makes surprise trip to Kyiv for talks with Zelensky

Boris Johnson makes surprise trip to Kyiv for talks with Zelensky
AP Photo/Matt Dunham

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Ukraine today for an in-person meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv. The Embassy of Ukraine to the United Kingdom tweeted a picture of the two men seated at a table across from each other.

Yesterday Johnson met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at Downing Street. A new aid package of about $130M in military equipment support was announced to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian forces.

“Britain and Germany are horrified by Putin’s invasion and have agreed that our two countries must go further to help Ukraine. The UK will send more defensive weapons to Ukraine and will work with G7 partners to target every pillar of the Russian economy to ensure Putin fails,” he tweeted following the meeting with Scholz.

BoJo’s surprise trip to meet with Zelensky in Ukraine during Putin’s invasion into the country is not the first from a foreign leader. The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovenia boldly traveled to Kyiv last month to meet with Zelensky. At the time of their visit, there was intense fighting in and around Kyiv. Now that fighting has cooled as Russian forces concentrate on the Donbas region, it is still a ballsy move by Johnson, just a little less than when the trio of prime ministers traveled by train to meet with Zelensky.

It’s hard to see such a story and not think of our own president. Biden went to Poland and spoke with American troops there but he didn’t cross over into Ukraine, which would have sent a much stronger message of support. If Biden returns to Poland any time in the near future, it will be a surprise. He has chosen to take a back seat to European countries. Most notably, French President Macron stepped up early on into the Russian invasion into Ukraine and tried to play the role of mediator between Putin and Zelensky. Johnson has been a strong supporter of Ukraine and seems to be exerting himself more in that role.

The European Commission pledged 1B euros earlier today to support Ukraine and countries receiving refugees fleeing the Russian invasion. A fundraising event was held in Warsaw where the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement. She said that 600M euros will go to Ukraine, Ukrainian authorities, and some to the United Nations. About 400M euros will go to border countries who are taking in refugees. Ursula von der Leyen met with Zelensky and visited Bucha to see that city’s damage before going to Warsaw. The fundraising is ongoing.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has arrived in Warsaw, after a visit to Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv and the indiscriminately targeted city of Bucha, to take part in a special event to support the people of Ukraine. She will be convening the event, which is part of the European Commission and Canadian government’s ‘Stand Up for Ukraine’ campaign. The campaign aims to raise funding for refugees fleeing Ukraine and internally displaced people within the country.

The amount of money being raised in Warsaw has already grown since the first announcement.

Meanwhile, Ursula von der Leyen has pledged to speed up Ukraine’s application to join EU. Her visit to Bucha seems to have provided proof of the need for such action.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the civilian deaths in the Ukrainian town of Bucha showed the “cruel face” of Russia’s army and pledged to try to speed Ukraine’s bid to become a member of the European Union.

During a visit to Bucha, where forensic specialists started to exhume bodies from a mass grave, Ms Von der Leyen looked visibly moved by what she saw in the town where Ukrainian officials say hundreds of civilians were killed by Russian forces.

Saying the EU could never match the sacrifice of Ukraine, Ms Von der Leyen offered it a speedier start to its bid for membership of the bloc.

Handing Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky a questionnaire which will form a starting point for a decision on membership, she said: “It will not as usual be a matter of years to form this opinion but I think a matter of weeks.”

Von der Leyen sees a future with Russia descending into “economic, financial and technological decay” as Ukraine secures its place with a European future. That would be the ultimate defeat of Putin.

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Ben Shapiro 12:01 AM on June 01, 2023