As Johnson increasingly faced scandal after scandal, critics accused him of using Ukraine to distract and distract from his misery at home. But the Ukrainians don’t seem to care whether this support served a dual purpose for a domestic audience. Few actions in politics do not.
Memes have gone viral showing the prime minister as a medieval knight with Ukrainian colors on his arm. Another, in the form of “woman yelling at a cat,” is a play on words of “Johnson UK” which looks like “Johnsoniuk” – the Ukrainian version of his name.
Ukraine’s national railway service on Thursday called the prime minister the “#1 ally of Ukraine and a true friend of the railway” in a statement. It took it one step further, creating a version of the logo adorned with its iconic, blonde blast of hair.
Another running joke is that Ukrainians on social media are picturing Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron as two potential boyfriends.
“Macron is the friend who calls all the time but never does anything; Johnson is the guy who would travel 3,000 miles to see you,” explains Hanna Shelest, a director of the Foreign Policy Council’s “Ukrainian Prism” think tank.
That reflects a frustration often seen as ambiguous in their support for Kiev. Macron sparked outrage by saying the West should be careful not to “humiliate” Russia. And Germany has been accused of being slow to supply weapons.
“Johnson is one of the most popular politicians in Ukraine because he was very clear from the start and his words are always followed by actions,” Shelest said. And while his norm-breaking style has thinned out for many Britons, “his image as an extravagant man was something that was seen as positive by Ukrainians,” she said.
Britain has pledged £2.3 billion ($2.75 billion) in military aid, the second-highest amount after the United States. Notably, it delivered some 6,500 NLAWs — next-generation light anti-tank weapons — credited with destroying numerous Russian tanks.
The Cossack community in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv has accepted Johnson into its order and given him the name “Boris Chuprina”, meaning “a long lock of hair”. a local stringed instrument called a ‘kobza’.