A tongue-in-cheek petition to give outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Ukrainian citizenship and make him the country’s prime minister has garnered over 2,500 signatures hours after being put up on Ukraine’s official petitions site .
Despite losing domestic popularity and eventually having been forced to announce his resignation after dozens of ministerial departures in early July, Johnson remains a cult figure in Kyiv for his vocal support of Ukraine as it fights off Russia’s invasion.
Paintings, murals, and even cakes in Ukraine’s capital bear the likeness of the man some Ukrainians affectionately call “Johnsoniuk.”
The petition, addressed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, lists Johnson’s strengths as “worldwide support for Boris Johnson, a clear position against the military invasion of Ukraine, (and) wisdom in the political, financial and legal spheres.”
The petition, however, does acknowledge one negative side of such an appointment: its non-compliance with Ukraine’s constitution.
In an apparent coincidence, several hours after the petition was put up on Tuesday, Johnson presented Zelenskiy with the Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award for what his Downing Street office described as “incredible courage, defiance, and dignity” in the face of Russia’s invasion.
Zelenskiy did not mention the new petition when accepting the award, but he will be obliged to officially respond if it receives 25,000 signatures.
Accepting the award via video link from Kyiv, Zelenskiy quoted wartime British premier Churchill, saying that Johnson “had no thought of quitting the struggle” when the going got tough.
Reporting by Max Hunder; Editing by Sandra Maler
Photo – A handout photo made available by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) walking on the square near St. Mikhailovsky Cathedral in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine, 17 June 2022. During his visit to Kyiv, Johnson offered to launch a major training operation for Ukrainian forces. EPA-EFE/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE