Boris Johnson has accused the UK and its allies of “dragging their feet” over supplying weapons to Ukraine, calling on the West to “finish the job”.
The former prime minister said that the UK had only contributed a “fraction” of what the United States had given to Ukraine. He added that the US has only given 1 per cent of the American defence budget.
In an article for The Spectator, he called on the West to provide Ukraine with new types of weaponry: “There is only one thing they want from us, and that is the weaponry to finish the job – and so I simply do not understand why we keep dragging our feet. Why are we always so slow?”.
The article for The Spectator, the magazine Johnson used to edit, comes after a recent visit to the country, where he visited a rehabilitation centre for Ukrainian soldiers injured in the conflict.
Of his visit, he said: “In the last few days I did my best to probe them on this point – but I found not the slightest slackening of Ukrainian resolve. They don’t see how they could trade land for peace, because they don’t see how they could possibly believe a word Putin says.
“Yevgeny Prigozhin thought he had done a deal with Putin – and it didn’t exactly work for him”
“Do not believe for one second that these Ukrainian soldiers — or the wider population of Ukraine — could be persuaded somehow to lay down their weapons or do a deal with Putin”, he wrote.
“They are not fighting at our behest, and will not stop because we say so.”
“What the hell are we waiting for?”, he asked.
“There is only one thing they want from us and that is the weaponry to finish the job — and so I simply do not understand why we keep dragging our feet. Why are we always so slow? How can we look these men in the eye and explain the delay?”
As for specific weapons, Johnson said the Ukrainians need man-portable air-defence systems (Manpads) to take out the Russian helicopters, as well as “Patriot-style systems to protect themselves against attack from the air, and they need better long-range artillery to take out the Russian positions”.
Johnson described Ukraine’s requests as a “relatively trivial outlay”, adding that western leaders need to recognise that the “stakes are enormous”.
“If Putin wins in Ukraine, if he holds even a fraction of what he has taken, then the lesson will be clear: that aggression pays, that European borders can once again be changed by violence where Putin fancies a revanchist and domestically rabble-rousing military operation”.