At least there is one place where Boris Johnson is still assured of a warm welcome – Ukraine. No doubt the timing of his brief visit to Kiev was fortuitous, given his little local difficulties. It was an ideal moment to project his admittedly underdeveloped image as a global statesman, the very embodiment of the thrusting new post-Brexit “Global Britain”, and to remind his critics that there is more to politics than Covid law-breaking and sleaze.
The wide expanses of the Steppes provide an ideal backdrop for the prime minister to invite his enemies to contemplate wider horizons. President Volodymyr Zelensky, who, like Mr Johnson, has a background as a comedian, wouldn’t be so rude as to mention all those silly parties in Downing Street.
However cynically motivated, the visit will do some good. Ukraine genuinely values the support of western powers in its struggle to retain what’s left of its territorial integrity, and treasures any allies wanting to help it resist Russian bullying. Mr Johnson is the most prominent western leader to show up in Ukraine in its latest hour of need, and it’s appreciated.