Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has praised his ‘special bond’ with Boris Johnson while branding Vladimir Putin a ‘nobody’.
Mr Zelensky, who turned 45 yesterday, appealed to members of Nato for more heavy weaponry in an interview with Sky News.
Speaking in English, he told Kay Burley: ‘It is not interesting for me. Not interesting to meet, not interesting to speak. Why? Because we had a meeting with him in Normandy Format, it was before the full-scale invasion.
‘I saw the man who said one thing and then did another. So for me, I can’t understand – is it his decisions or somebody else?
‘So to meet what – to shake hands? Not interesting. To speak? I really don’t understand who makes decisions in Russia.’
Asked if it was too late for one-on-one talks with Mr Putin to prove useful in resolving the war, Mr Zelensky said: ‘Too late, not interesting. Who is he now? After full-scale invasion, for me he is a nobody.’
During the same interview, the Ukrainian president was also quizzed on his relationship with Boris Johnson, who quickly positioned himself as one of the most vocal backers of Ukraine on the world stage following the invasion last year.
Mr Zelensky declined to say whether Mr Johnson should get an official role representing the UK in Ukraine, appearing to laugh at the suggestion and indicating the former PM might not be ready for such a role.
‘He is good guy,’ he said. ‘Who knows? With pleasure, with pleasure, really.’
But he declined to say whether he would like to see Mr Johnson enter Downing Street again, instead praising his ‘good relations’ with Rishi Sunak.
‘I think that is not correct for me to support Johnson to be prime minister,’ he added.
‘We have good relations with Sunak. I think we had more long relations with Johnson, because it was more long-time.
‘I saw Johnson in different situations, I saw him not in war and then in full-scale war, that’s why we have special relations.’
This week nine countries joined Britain in a move to provide tanks to Ukraine, after the German parliament broke their deadlock and agreed to help arm the war-torn country.
During what Zelensky hailed as a ‘historic day’, Germany will initially send 14 Leopard 2s to Ukraine, and aims to provide 80 tanks overall.
The US confirmed it will supply 31 Abrams M1 tanks, and The UK has already said it will send 14 Challenger 2 tanks.
Presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak said he hopes the move will act as a precursor to the supply of more long-range missiles.
President Zelensky has praised his ‘special relationship’ with Boris Johnson (Picture: EPA)
The White House has previously vetoed Kyiv’s requests for long-range weapons capable of striking within Russian borders over fears it will escalate the war.
But Podolyak said there was already ‘an understanding’ in the West that fears of the missiles leading to escalation were misplaced.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: ‘Right now we are seeing a sharp change in sentiment among the political elites of European countries, who understand that we need to transfer all equipment, including armoured vehicles.’
‘And we will reach, I am sure, no doubt, an agreement on long-range missiles.’
The advisor explained that the missiles are needed to destroy the Russian army’s rear structure, which will make it more difficult for them to support and resupply troops on the frontlines.
‘Without it, they will fight much worse, if at all,’ he added.
Russia responded by branding the West’s supply of tanks to Ukraine as a ‘blatant provocation’ and warned the new Nato supplies will ‘burn like all the rest’.
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Zelensky praised his ‘special bond’ with Boris Johnson while appealing for more long-range weaponry.