British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pictured throughout a press convention in Poland on Feb. 10, 2022, drew widespread criticism over his remarks on the Conservative Social gathering Convention on Saturday evaluating Brexit to Ukraine’s protection in opposition to a Russian invasion. Leszek Szymanski/EPA-EFE
March 19 (UPI) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in contrast Brexit to Ukraine’s protection in opposition to a Russian invasion in a speech on Saturday, claiming each choices replicate an intuition to “select freedom.”
“I do know that it is the intuition of the folks of this nation, just like the folks of Ukraine, to decide on freedom each time,” Johnson stated in his speech on the Conservative Social gathering Convention on Saturday. “I can provide you a pair current examples.”
“When the British folks voted for Brexit in such massive numbers, I do not consider it was that they have been remotely hostile to foreigners. It is as a result of they wished to be free to do issues in a different way and for this nation to have the ability to run itself,” Johnson stated.
He additionally pointed to the nation’s excessive COVID-19 vaccination charges.
“It was as a result of they wished to get on with their lives. It is as a result of they have been fed up being informed what to do by folks like me,” Johnson stated.
The comparability between Ukraine’s protection of its borders and the UK’s choice to voluntarily depart the European Union sparked outrage and astonishment throughout the continent.
Donald Tusk, former president of the European Council and an ex-prime minister of Poland, informed The Guardian that the Ukrainian folks could be upset by Johnson’s remarks.
“Boris Johnson likens Ukrainians’ battle to British folks voting for Brexit. I can nonetheless keep in mind the passion of Putin and Trump after the referendum. Boris, your phrases offend Ukrainians, the British and customary sense.”
Johnson’s comparability additionally got here just some weeks after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky known as on the EU to grant Ukraine membership.
“Brexit was about undoing freedoms and leaving the EU,” Man Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister who led the European parliament in Brexit negotiations, informed The Guardian. “Ukrainians need extra freedom and to hitch the EU.”
He added that Johnson’s feedback have been “insane.”
Even supporters of the UK’s choice to depart the EU, like talkRADIO TV presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer, known as the comparability between Brexit and Ukraine “completely cringe.”
“Evaluating the vote to depart the EU with the Ukrainian folks combating for his or her lives in opposition to a international invader is an insult to their bravery and sacrifice,” she wrote on Twitter.