Boris Johnson echoes Churchill in world leader’s first address to Ukraine’s parliament

Boris Johnson will hailed Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s attack as his “finest hour” in a speech to the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday

Boris Johnson met Volodymyr Zelenskyy last month during a visit to Kyiv
Boris Johnson met Volodymyr Zelenskyy last month during a visit to Kyiv

Boris Johnson will quote his hero Winston Churchill in acknowledging Ukraine’s resistance to Russia.

The prime minister addresses Ukraine’s parliament via video link, becoming the first world leader to address the Verkhovna Rada since Vladimir Putin’s troops invaded on February 24.

The Prime Minister, who wrote a biography of Britain’s wartime leader, is set to repeat one of his most famous lines.

On June 18, 1940 – as he rallied the country for the forthcoming Battle of Britain that summer – Churchill told the Commons: “Let us therefore be ready for our duties and bear it when the British Empire and her Commonwealth for last a thousand years, people will still say: ‘That was their finest hour’.”

From the Downing Street press conference room, Mr Johnson will tell Ukrainian parliamentarians: “When my country was under threat of invasion during the Second World War, our Parliament – like yours – continued to meet throughout the conflict and the British people showed it Unity and determination that we remember our time of greatest peril as our finest hour.

Boris Johnson, Liz Truss (left) and Priti Patel (right) listen as President Zelensky addresses Britain’s Parliament



“This is Ukraine’s finest hour, an epic chapter in your national history that will be remembered and told for generations to come.

“Their children and grandchildren will say that Ukrainians taught the world that the brute force of an attacker counts for nothing against the moral might of a people determined to be free.”

Mr Johnson’s speech comes almost two months after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke via video link before the House of Commons.

The Ukrainian leader, widely praised for his communication skills, echoed Churchill in his own address to parliament, where he pledged to fight Putin’s forces “in the woods, in the fields, on the banks, in the streets.”

The Prime Minister met President Zelenskyy for a surprise visit to Kyiv last month.

At the reopening of the British embassy in the capital Kyiv, the Prime Minister will say Britain is “proud to be among the friends of Ukraine”.

He is expected to announce a £300m package of “defensive military aid to Ukraine”.

The vital kit will include electronic warfare equipment, a “counter-battery radar system”, GPS jammers and thousands of night vision goggles.

Britain will also send drones capable of airlifting equipment to Ukrainian forces on the ground and more than a dozen new Toyota Land Cruisers to protect officials in eastern Ukraine and evacuate civilians from the front lines.

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