FORMER Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a major mistake when he praised despot Vladimir Putin instead of his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky for his ‘inspirational leadership’.
The gaffe came during Mr Johnson’s first major involvement in British politics as a backbench MP after he was forced out of office in July.
Last night, during a debate in the House of Commons on the situation in Ukraine, Mr Johnson first reflected on the reasons for the success of the Ukrainian counter-offensive against the Russian invaders.
He said: “Thanks to the heroism of the Ukrainian armed forces, thanks in part to the weapons that we are proud to offer, I congratulate my very honorable friend [James Heappey] on his job description of the British Armed Forces, the arms that sent, the huge list
“Thanks also, of course, to the inspiring leadership of Vladimir Putin”
At this point coughs and a few laughs can be heard in the Commons, before Mr Johnson realizes his clumsy mistake.
“Thanks also of course to the inspiring leadership of Vladimir Putin…of Volodymyr Zelensly, forgive me.”
The inspiring leadership of Volodymyr Zelensky, forgive me, Russian forces have in recent days been expelled from large parts of the northeast of the country around Kharkiv.”
And they are under increasing pressure in Kherson in the south, and I have no doubt that the Ukrainians will win.
During his speech as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Mr Johnson suggested the UK was ready to increase its ‘military assistance’ to Kyiv, as well as ‘greater economic support’.
He added: “If Putin is going to double his aggression, then we must redouble our efforts in our defense of the Ukrainians, and we must be ready to provide more military assistance and more economic support, and I warmly welcome the announcements of this Government this week.”
The debate comes after anger in Russia mounted over Putin’s mobilization of civilians to fight in Ukraine.
Flights out of the country have sold for sky-high prices following the announcement as Russians insist they don’t want to be sent to Putin’s ‘meat grinder’.
Putin ordered the mobilization – calling up 300,000 reservists – in a television speech in which he also made a thinly veiled threat to bomb the West.
Russia has a reserve of around two million people, most of whom have served in the military in recent years, but doubts remain about their fitness and motivation, especially given the apparent panic Russian inside Ukraine.
Demoralized Russian troops withdrew in “panic” from their positions along the Oskil River this week, according to The Kyiv Independent newspaper.
Those fleeing left behind hundreds of vehicles and machinery, and potentially thousands of casualties.
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