Boris Johnson claims Britain’s ability to support Ukraine has been boosted by Brexit as ex-PM suggests UK wouldn’t have delivered anti-tank weapons to Kyiv if it had ‘stuck with’ EU approach
- Boris Johnson claims Britain’s ability to support Ukraine was boosted by Brexit
- Ex-PM insists UK was able to take a ‘very distinct’ approach due to leaving EU
- He suggests Brexit enabled delivery of NLAWS – the anti-tank weapons – to Kyiv
Boris Johnson tonight claimed Britain’s ability to support Ukraine in the face of Russia‘s invasion had been boosted by Brexit.
The ex-prime minister insisted the UK was able to take a ‘very distinct’ approach to the Ukraine war due to leaving the EU.
Mr Johnson suggested Britain’s supply of thousands of NLAWS – the anti-tank weapon systems – to Ukraine would not have happened if the UK had ‘stuck with’ the ‘old EU approach’.
Speaking at a think tank event on his trip to Washington D.C., Mr Johnson took issue with a suggestion the UK had been able to take a leading role in supporting Kyiv ‘despite Brexit’.
Boris Johnson insisted the UK was able to take a ‘very distinct’ approach to the Ukraine war due to leaving the EU
The ex-PM suggested Britain’s supply of thousands of NLAWS – the anti-tank weapon systems – to Ukraine would not have happened if the UK had ‘stuck with’ the ‘old EU approach’
Answering questions after delivering a speech at the Atlantic Council, the former premier said: ‘First of all that phrase “despite Brexit”.
‘I seriously think that it was in part because of Brexit that we were able to take a decision and to have an approach that was very distinct from the old EU approach, which was by the way all governed by the fabled Normandy Format.
‘Remember the Normandy Format which was agreed in Normandy in 2014.
‘For reasons that are now obscure to me, the British government decided they did not want to be involved in this.
‘France and Germany led it, that was the EU framework. If we’d stuck with that, I don’t believe we would have delivered the NLAWS.
‘And I think we would have taken a very different approach, to be perfectly frank.
‘So I think because of Brexit we’ve been able to do things differently and I hope in a way that has been useful to Ukraine.’
But Mr Johnson added that world leaders all accepted there was ‘no way forward’ apart from supporting Ukraine against Vladimir Putin’s forces.
‘Whenever people get together on this subject, they’re driven by the logic of the position… to support Ukraine,’ he said.
‘Because there isn’t a deal you can do with Putin, everybody spots that – France, Germany wherever, we all come to the same conclusion.
‘There’s no way forward except backing the Ukrainians.’
Mr Johnson prompted anger last year with his comparison between Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion and Britain’s vote to leave the EU.
Critics swiftly pointed out that Ukraine itself had applied to be a member of the Brussels-based bloc.
Others said it was an ‘insult’ to compare Brexit to how Ukrainians were sacrificing their lives to fight for freedom.
Mr Johnson has also used his trip to Washington D.C. this week to pile pressure on Britain and the US to supply fighter jets to Ukraine
Downing Street today continued to rule out sending British fighter jets to Ukraine despite Mr Johnson’s intervention
Mr Johnson has used his trip to Washington D.C. this week to pile pressure on Western leaders to supply fighter jets to Ukraine – despite both Britain and the US ruling out such a move.
In a swipe at the reluctance from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden to provide Kyiv with air support, he told Fox News: ‘Every time we say that it will be a mistake to give such and such an item of weaponry, we end up doing it and it ends up being the right thing for Ukraine.’
Downing Street today continued to rule out sending British fighter jets to Ukraine despite Mr Johnson’s intervention.
Mr Sunak’s official spokesman said: ‘It’s currently not practical to send UK jets, we will continue to work closely with the Ukrainians to understand their needs and how allies can further support them.
‘Given the complexity of UK fighter jets and the length of time required to train them we do not currently think it is practical to do so.’