Politics

Boris Johnson sets out how Putin can be beaten next year

Boris Johnson asked whether he still wants to be Prime Minister

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Boris Johnson has urged the West to step up support for Ukraine to end the war as soon as next year. The former PM, who developed a close friendship with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and is widely viewed as a hero in Kyiv, said the conflict can “only end one way” with the defeat of Vladimir Putin.

Mr Johnson argued that putting the Russian President’s brutal and unprovoked invasion to a stop as soon as possible is “in everyone’s interest, including Russia”.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the ex-prime minister said: “Not in 2025, not in 2024, but in 2023.”

Mr Johnson insisted the “world can’t continue to watch” as Ukrainians are pummelled with missiles and drones, adding that global economic turmoil will continue as long as Mr Putin’s “senseless attacks”.

He said: “It is time to look urgently at what more the West can do to help the Ukrainians achieve their military objectives, or at least to kick the Russians out of all the territories invaded this year.

“That’s the only plausible basis on which a conversation about the future could begin.

“The Ukrainians have the valour necessary to succeed. They have shown it. They just need the equipment.”

Mr Johnson conceded that the financial commitment is “painful” in a period of fiscal restraint, but added: “Time is money, and the longer this goes on the more we will all end up paying in military support.”

The former PM also rejected fears about “poking the Russian bear” and suggestions that NATO provoked Mr Putin into launching his invasion.

He said: “It was decades of Western lassitude and irresolution about Ukraine’s status that enticed the bully to make his mistake.

“The West has atoned for this failure with a stunning display of coherence and unity since February. We must be stronger and bolder.”

Mr Johnson’s latest intervention comes after he insisted last month that continuing to support Ukraine is his “priority” after leaving No 10.

During an interview on Sky News, he was asked by presenter Mark Austin: “Do you still harbour hopes of returning as Prime Minister? Is it unfinished business?”

Mr Johnson replied: “I harbour hopes of continuing to campaign for Ukraine and that is my priority.

“There are various other things I’m doing but that is of course very dear to my heart.”

Mr Johnson made a number of trips to the war-torn country during his time in office.

His successor Rishi Sunak, who visited Kyiv last month, has pledged to continue UK backing for Ukraine.

Mr Putin launched his attack on Russia’s neighbour in February but has faced fierce Ukrainian resistance.

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