Kremlin glee as world reacts to Johnson endgame

The Kremlin in Moscow has taken a swipe at outgoing UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who has overseen consistent British support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion.

President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Mr Johnson “really does not like us – and we (do not like) him either”.

He said he hoped “more professional people” who could “make decisions through dialogue” would take over in London.

Meanwhile, Russian foreign ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova, told reporters Mr Johnson had been “hit by a boomerang launched by himself”, adding that the moral of the story was “do not seek to destroy Russia”.

But Ukraine struck the opposite tone: the presidency thanked the politician for his support in “the most difficult of times”, according to news agency AFP.

Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, developed a close relationship with Mr Johnson since the start of the war. His adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, earlier took to Twitter to thank him for being “the first to arrive in Kyiv, despite missile attacks” and “always being at the forefront of supporting” Ukraine.

The Russian officials were not the only critics, however, with a number noting the strained relations Mr Johnson had had at times with international partners following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, which he championed and eventually saw through.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s former Brexit coordinator, said “European Union (EU)-UK relations suffered hugely with Johnson’s choice of Brexit”, adding his reign was ending in “disgrace, just like his friendDonald Trump”.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s former chief negotiator, said Mr Johnson’s departure “opens a new page in relations with” the UK – one he hoped would be “more constructive, more respectful of commitments made, in particular regarding peace and stability in Northern Ireland, and more friendly”.

Irish Prime Minister, Micheal Martin, also saw the resignation as a chance for a reset in relations with the UK. He acknowledged in an official statement that he “didn’t always agree” with Mr Johnson, saying relations between the governments had been “strained and challenged in recent times”.

“We have now an opportunity to return to the true spirit of partnership and mutual respect that is needed to underpin the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.”

Never mind that the US and British systems of government are decidedly different and that a presidential claim to a popular mandate – when voters checked a box next to their name on the ballot – is considerably stronger than that of a prime minister who governs at the behest of their party. -AFP

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