Kyiv, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was one of many first overseas leaders Prime Minister Liz Truss talked to since occupying the UK’s high workplace.
“Ukraine can rely on the UK for help in the long run,” she mentioned on Twitter after their cellphone dialog on Tuesday.
And the primary overseas chief Zelenskyy referred to as when Russia invaded Ukraine in February was Truss’s predecessor, Boris Johnson.
The rapprochement between Kyiv and London has turn out to be one of many struggle’s silver linings, and Johnson was welcomed in Ukraine as a nationwide hero.
“The UK stands with Ukraine” was the pinned submit on Johnson’s Twitter account throughout his three-year-long tenure as prime minister, and sunflowers symbolising Ukraine have been displayed within the home windows of his Downing Road residence.
Johnson was one of many first political heavyweights to go to Ukraine after the struggle started, and Ukrainians appreciated it by naming a avenue and a pastry after him.
“All of us heard this information with disappointment. Not solely me, but additionally the complete Ukrainian society, which may be very sympathetic to you. We’ve got little question that Nice Britain’s help shall be preserved, however your private management and charisma made it particular,” the Ukrainian chief mentioned in July.
So, what shall Ukraine anticipate from Johnson’s successor?
“A continuation of the strategic partnership coverage and a lift of army and monetary assist,” Kyiv-based analyst Aleksey Kushch instructed Al Jazeera.
The UK is free from commitments to the European Union and is much much less depending on Russia’s hydrocarbon exports than continental Europe.
Below Johnson, London threw its political weight behind the nascent anti-Russian bloc of Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania – and that’s one thing Truss is anticipated to proceed.
“Britain will play a stabilising function within the Baltic-Black Sea axis, Kushch mentioned.
Different pundits agree.
“Nice Britain is making an attempt to construct its zone of affect in continental Europe, by way of Poland, Ukraine and farther into the Black Sea basin,” Ihar Tyshkevich of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, a Kyiv-based think-tank, instructed Al Jazeera.
“As a result of these pursuits stay, one can’t anticipate that the brand new British prime minister to alter GB’s insurance policies abruptly,” he mentioned.
Different analysts are much more optimistic about her.
“It’s Johnson doubled,” analyst Oleksander Kraev wrote in an op-ed printed by the UNIAN information company on Tuesday. “She has already promised to turn out to be Ukraine’s greatest good friend.”
Predictably, Moscow doesn’t foresee any political thaws in ties with London.
“There is no such thing as a likelihood to say that Liz Truss will in some way enhance Russian-British ties,” Russian lawmaker Dmitry Novikov reportedly mentioned.
What is much extra vital for Ukraine’s speedy wants is the army assist London has supplied – and can proceed to offer.
Typically performing faster than different Western backers, the UK has already equipped M270 multiple-launch rocket methods, Mastiff armoured autos, Javelin anti-tank missiles and counter-battery radar methods.
Tons of of UK-made target-spotting micro-drones enhance precision strikes, and the Harpoon anti-ship missile methods London helped present have already sunk a number of Russian ships within the Black Sea.
Mine-hunting methods assist detect Russian mines in seawater whereas British trawlers assist Ukrainian cargo ships take grain by way of Bosporus.
Tons of of anti-aircraft and anti-tank “loitering” missiles have additionally been deadly to Russian servicemen and tools.
London’s army assist bundle reached 2.3 billion kilos ($2.8bn) whereas it pledged to coach 10,000 Ukrainian servicemen each three months at a army base in southeastern England whose location has not been publicised.
“Everybody noticed [the assistance] from the point of view of initiatives, help and private instance” set by Johnson, Lieutenant Basic Ihor Romanenko, the previous deputy chief of Ukraine’s basic workers of armed forces, instructed Al Jazeera.
“We actually hope that the management and the initiatives in supplying arms and coaching personnel will proceed,” he mentioned.
My message to our G7 and NATO allies right now is easy. The one factor Putin understands is energy. Along with our allies we’re holding the strain up with extra sanctions, weapons and ending imports of Russian vitality.
🇬🇧 🇺🇸 🇩🇪 🇫🇷 🇮🇹 🇨🇦 🇯🇵 🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/2kzyAg94FN
— Liz Truss (@trussliz) April 7, 2022
Truss, who served as Johnson’s overseas minister, has been instrumental in securing the provides.
“My message to our G7 and NATO allies right now is easy,” she mentioned on Twitter in early April.
“The one factor Putin understands is energy. Along with our allies, we’re holding the strain up with extra sanctions, weapons and ending imports of Russian vitality,” she mentioned.
She did, nonetheless, face a humiliating gaffe associated to Ukraine.
Throughout her journey to Moscow in early February, Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov trolled her by asking whether or not the UK would recognise Moscow’s rule over Voronezh and Rostov – two areas in western Russia.
Having mistaken them for Donetsk and Luhansk, two Ukrainian provinces partly managed by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, she replied that London would “by no means recognise Russian sovereignty over these areas”, the Kommersant every day reported.
Lavrov ridiculed Truss throughout their information convention, saying their dialog was like “a mute speaking to a deaf”, and Russian media adopted swimsuit mocking her.
Hours later, Truss needed to provide you with a clarification.
“Throughout the assembly, it appeared to me that minister Lavrov was speaking about part of Ukraine. I’ve clearly indicated that these areas are a part of sovereign Russia,” she mentioned.
However no matter her data of Russia’s geography, Ukraine does high her agenda.
She talked concerning the struggle with US President Joe Biden throughout their first cellphone dialog.
They “mentioned the significance of continued shut cooperation on world challenges, together with supporting Ukraine because it defends itself in opposition to Russian aggression”, the White Home mentioned in a press release.
Common Ukrainians are usually not very conversant in Truss, who turned Britain’s fourth prime minister in six years. However some assume that she will be able to enhance her personal political standing by serving to Kyiv.
“We’ll see what she will be able to do for us,” retired librarian Oksana Lipnitskaya instructed Al Jazeera. “England has at all times been anti-Russia, and serving to Ukraine is sort of trendy nowadays.”