Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged his ‘friend’ Boris Johnson to not “disappear” after he stands down as Prime Minister.
The UK is one of the major military and humanitarian aid donors to Ukraine, and has imposed sanctions on Russian targets.
Johnson has visited Ukraine twice since Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on 24 February and has helped in drumming Western support for Zelenskyy on the world stage.
Also on Tuesday July 26, Johnson presented Zelenskyy with The Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award, recognizing “extraordinary leadership by individuals”.
On 6 September, Johnson will step down as prime minister following the announcement of his successor – either Foreign Secretary Liz Truss or former chancellor Rishi Sunak – after Conservative Party members have voted for a new leader.
Speaking to TalkTV hosted by Piers Morgan, Zelensky said he would like the UK prime minister to remain “somewhere in politics in a position to be someone”.
Speaking alongside his wife, First Lady Olena Zelenska, Zelensky said: “I have no right to play in politics inside the UK. What I can say is [Mr Johnson] is a big friend of Ukraine.
“I want him to be somewhere in politics in a position to be someone. I don’t want him to disappear, but the decision is in the hands of the British people.
“But I am sure that whatever position he is going to take, he is always going to be with Ukraine. This is from the heart.”
Asked about what he would say to Ms Truss or Mr Sunak when they emerge prime minister, he replied that he would be “happy to cooperate” with either as prime minister, “like we used to have with Boris”.
“I know those two candidates are very respectful, and they have the support of the people and the society from the UK,” Zelensky said.
“We know about this support. We know about the positive strength of those leaders.”