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A new style. How will relations between the UK and Ukraine change after Johnson’s resignation

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Will the new Prime Minister of Great Britain support Ukraine like Johnson?

Boris Johnson’s resignation from the office of the Prime Minister of the UK won’t affect relations with Ukraine and support in countering Russian military aggression significantly. The Page asked political experts what should be Kyiv preparing for in case of a quick replacement of the head of the UK cabinet.

The high bar of support for Kyiv

Boris Johnson has set such a high bar for supporting Ukraine, be it diplomatic, military, or humanitarian aid, that no succeeding UK Cabinet in the near future is likely to rescind it, said candidate of historical sciences Yehor Brailian in his commentary to The Page.

Quote"Johnson's achievement for recent years is a clear formulation regarding Russia and Ukraine: Russia violates international law, and it is necessary to support Ukraine, against which the Russian Federation has launched a war," the expert emphasized.

Brailian told about an interesting document dated July 2020 — a report by the UK Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, which clearly stated that Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Quote"There was an important phrase in it: the West could take a more responsible position with respect to Russia in 2014. This is evidence that the UK government has reconsidered its policy toward Russia and deems it to be a challenge for global democracy," the expert added.

What can change in relations with Ukraine

Answering the question of how Ukraine should be preparing for relations with the new Prime Minister of the UK after the resignation of Boris Johnson, Volodymyr Fesenko, CEO of the Center for Applied Political Studies Penta, said:

Quote"Calmly. In Ukraine, as well as in Russia, there is an excessive personification of politics, so now we see headlines like "oh, they are replacing a friend of Ukraine." How will it end? My prediction is that the UK's policy of supporting Ukraine and opposing Russia will not change."

The political scientist pointed out that the reasons for Boris Johnson's resignation are related to neither Ukraine nor Russian aggression — these are intra-party conflicts, which the leader of the Conservative Party has encountered not for the first time. For example, former Prime Minister Theresa May was also forced to resign early.

Quote"And it's not just Theresa May. Such outstanding prime ministers as Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher were also forced to resign due to internal party problems," Fesenko noted.

He explained that the position of the UK regarding Ukraine is determined according to the national interests of the country, and here there is a complete consensus of political elites — both within the Conservative Party and key state institutions, and in general: it is necessary to resist Russian aggression.

Quote"Even if Johnson leaves, the position of the UK won’t change. It’s the style that can change: Johnson was a very emphatic figure, he has a strong emotional connection with Ukraine, that’s why there can be a different style in the future. But this isn’t critical for us — systemic support is key. And I think it will remain so."

The next PM may be less energetic

Oleksiy Haran, a professor of political studies at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, the basic things in the UK's support for Ukraine will not change.

Quote"In politics, there are objective and subjective factors. The objective ones are that the UK has always been our ally and consistently advocated Ukraine's accession to both NATO and the EU," he noted.

Haran explained that the British politics has been for decades to support Ukraine despite changing governments, although the Conservatives were more consistent in their steps than Labor.

But there's also a subjective factor relating to Johnson's personality, the professor noted.

Quote"Johnson doesn't only support Ukraine in all aspects, but also demonstrates it on a symbolic level, such as his visits to Kyiv, and on the level of military support," Haran pointed out.

According to him, it means that the new PM's politics will feature no drastic changes with regard to relations with Ukraine, but it might be less active, energetic, and prone to harsh statements as compared to that of Johnson.

Quote"But the basic things in their support for Ukraine won't change," the professor summed up.



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