Why was the Johnson administration so enthusiastic to support Ukraine following the Russian invasion of February 2022? Why did the UK provide more economic and weapons support for President Zelensky than any country except the United States?
After all, as Foreign Secretary in the May government, Johnson had tried a ‘reset’ of relations with Putin and his reaction to the Russian incursion onto Ukrainian territory in 2014 was in line with the EU and NATO consensus to play down the crisis and to impose only symbolic and trifling sanctions.
The 2018 Salisbury poisonings certainly led Johnson to reassess Putin’s motives and the nature of his regime and its hegemonic foreign policy. Johnson thus moved from regarding Putin as benign to malign. Some scholars claim that Johnson was influenced by his hero Winston Churchill and that he saw Putin’s aggression as equivalent to that of the Nazi regime in the 1930s. But does this claim stand up?
These and other important issues, including the bi-partisan support of Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer, will be addressed in this talk.
This lecture is part of the 'Controversies in UK Foreign Policy: Diplomacy or Military Force?' lecture series, taking place on Fridays from 20 October to 24 November 2023. You may either register for individual lectures or you may choose to register for the entire lecture series at a reduced price.
Please note: this lecture will close to enrolments at 23:59 UTC on 21 November 2023.