In an amusing slip-up, former British prime minister Boris Johnson was caught on camera thanking Russian President Vladimir Putin for his “inspirational leadership”, before correcting himself to thank Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The incident occurred during a debate in Britain’s general Commons on the war in Ukraine, reported local media.
In a clip that has been widely shared on social media, Johnson, with his trademark dishevelled hair, is seen speaking to the members. “Thanks also, of course, to the inspirational leadership of Vladimir Putin…” he said, before correcting his mistake with a quick embarrassed smile as a few chuckles are heard in the background.
“… the inspirational leadership of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, forgive me, the Russian forces have in recent days been expelled from large parts of the northeast of the country, around Kharkiv and they’re under increasing pressure in Kherson in the south and I have no doubt that the Ukrainians will win,” Johnson added, referring to the present ground situation in the Russia-Ukraine war.
Boris Johnson thanks Vladimir Putin for his “inspirational leadership”, before correcting himself to thank Zelenskyy. pic.twitter.com/KAxT433CeJ
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) September 22, 2022
Prior to this, the former PM had been speaking of the UK’s part in providing weapons for Ukraine, reported UK-based Sky News.
“Thanks to the heroism of the Ukrainian armed forces, thanks in part to the weapons that we are proud to be offering, I congratulate my right honourable friend (James Heappey) on his description of the work of the UK armed forces, the weapons that we’re sending, the huge list…,” Johnson said, as per the report.
The Conservative leader also warned against a Russia-Ukraine deal that involved a “trade land for peace” agreement.
During his tenure, Johnson met with Zelenskyy multiple times, with his final visit coming in August. Zelenskyy later referred to him as a “true friend” and “ally.”
The 58-year-old MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip was forced to resign from the PM post in July after a series of scandals. He was replaced by Liz Truss on September 5.