British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing considerable backlash both abroad and at home for drawing parallels between Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s military operation and Brexit.
“I know that it’s the instinct of the people of this country [the UK], like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom every time,” Johnson said during a speech at the Conservative Party’s Spring Conference in Blackpool on Saturday.
“When the British people voted for Brexit in such large, large numbers, I don’t believe it was because they were remotely hostile to foreigners. It’s because they wanted to be free, to do things differently, and for this country to be able to run itself,” he insisted.
The ill-considered statement didn’t go unnoticed and shocked many, with the PM’s critics saying the comparison was inappropriate for several reasons.
They pointed to the fact that the two events were extremely different in nature and scale. It was noted that – whereas Britain voted to quit the European Union in 2016 – Ukraine has just applied to join the bloc after Russia sent its troops into the country. Johnson was also criticized for implying that the EU wasn’t about freedom.