Boris piles pressure on Germany to ‘double down’ support for Ukraine

Ukriane: Boris Johnson meets Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv

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Boris Johnson has piled the pressure on Germany as he claimed now is “the moment to double down and give the Ukrainians all the tools they need” after touring Kyiv. Mr Johnson was a keen advocate for Kyiv during his Downing Street days and made several visits to the ex-Soviet state following Vladimir Putin’s invasion. The former Prime Minister said he was “too honoured” as he was greeted by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky outside his office during his visit to Kyiv.

In a separate clip, Mr Johnson said: “I can tell you that the UK will be sticking by Ukraine for as long as it takes.

“You are going to win and you are going to get all the Russians out of your country but we will be there for the long-term.

“And we will also be want to be helping you reconstruct.”

Zelensky thanked Johnson for Britain’s support as the pair sat down for a face-to-face conversation in a conference room.

However, Johnson’s comments about continuing to support Kyiv have been seen as a jibe at Berlin.

JUST IN: UK piles pressure on Germany with Cleverly pleading for Ukraine to get Leopard 2 tanks

Officials in Ukraine have recently urged their German counterparts to “think faster” about delivering Leopard II tanks or at least allowing other countries to export them.

German defence secretary Boris Pistorius said on Friday it could take a “month” for Berlin to reach a decision.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz side-stepped questions over whether his country would allow tank deliveries during a Franco-German summit in Paris.

He said: “We fear this war is going to last a long time.”

Scholz added that Germany would only act in “close co-ordination with allies”, including France and the United States.

However, foreign minister Annalena Baerbock also said on Sunday night that Germany would “not stand in the way” if Poland requested to send Leopard II tanks to Ukraine.

She added: “For the moment, the question has not been asked.”

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also suggested Warsaw could build a “smaller coalition” of countries which would send their own tanks if Berlin does not consent to transferring Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin was on Sunday reported to have had “tense” exchanges with Scholz’s chief of staff after hearing Germany would only send tanks if the US donated its Abrams battle tank.

Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, was also said to have read the “riot act” to the Chancellor’s foreign policy adviser Jens Plotner.

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Despite Mr Johnson’s departure from Downing Street last September, the UK is continuing to support Ukraine.

Rishi Sunak recently authorised the transfer of 14 Challenger II tanks to Ukraine.

The Prime Minister used the Challenger announcement to say he would work “intensively with international partners” to deliver Kyiv the support it needed.

However, Mr Sunak has not spoken on the issue since Berlin refused to authorise tank deliveries at a long-awaited weapons-pledging summit on Friday.

The Prime Minister appeared somewhat supportive of his former boss’ visit to Ukraine.

Number 10 said in a statement that he was “always supportive of all colleagues showing that the UK is behind Ukraine and will continue to support them.”

However, an ex-First Sea Lord claimed Mr Johnson’s intervention was only useful it had been approved by Mr Sunak and his aides.

“We want to get across the UK Government messages, so it could be dangerous. It could confuse those messages.”

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