Conflicts & War

Ukraine has dispelled myth of Putin’s ‘invincibility’, Johnson says

London, May 3 (EFE).- British prime minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday that Ukraine “has exploded the myth of Putin’s invincibility” by repelling the Russian army against the odds.

Addressing the Ukrainian parliament or Verkhovna Rada, via video link, Johnson praised “the courage” of Ukrainian lawmakers for continuing to go about their work “in spite of the barbaric onslaught on (Ukraine’s) freedoms” by Russia’s invading forces.

The prime minister, who has remained in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy since the war began in late February, also praised the resilience of Ukraine’s armed forces and its population in general, noting particularly the successful defense of the capital, Kyiv.

“They fought with the courage and the energy of lions,” Johnson said. “You’ve beaten them back from Kyiv. You have exploded the myth of Putin’s invincibility. And you’ve written one of the most glorious chapters in military history, and in the life of your country.”

The “irresistible force of Putin’s war machine” has been broken in the face of “the immovable object of Ukrainian patriotism and love of country,” he said.

“This is Ukraine’s finest hour,” he added, “that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come,” in a reference to a speech by one of Johnson’s predecessors, Winston Churchill, who led Britain during World War II.

When Zelenskyy addressed the House of Commons in March, he also evoked Churchill’s most famous speech, stating that Ukraine would not surrender and would “fight the enemy to the end” “in the forests, in the fields, on the coasts and in the streets”.

Johnson insisted that Ukraine would win this war because of its determination to defend its independence and freedom.

He said that the Ukrainians exposed Putin’s “historic folly”, and that the “autocrat” had committed a “catastrophic mistake” by eroding Russia’s democratic institutions over the course of his rule.

“He might look as though he’s strong, and some people might even believe it. But he’s sowing the seeds of catastrophe for himself and for his country,” Johnson said of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The prime minister insisted that democracy is the “best protection against the perils of arbitrary power” like the one wielded by the Russian president, who rules “through fear, rigs elections, jails critics, refuses to have free media and listens just to sycophants.”

Johnson also acknowledged that the West failed to adequately respond when Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and warned against repeating the errors of eight years ago.

“We were too slow to grasp what was really happening and we collectively failed to impose the sanctions that we should have put on Vladimir Putin, and we cannot make the same mistake again,” Johnson said.

“It’s precisely because of your valor, your courage, your sacrifice, that Ukrainians now control your own destiny, and you are the masters of your fate.” EFE


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