Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has suggested that Boris Johnson was insensitive to comparing Ukraine’s fight against Russia to Brexit.
In a speech to ITV News, the former leader asked the prime minister to “please” not propose similarities between the war and the vote.
Sir. Poroshenko asked: “How many Britons died because of Brexit?
“Today alone, we have 150 Ukrainian children killed by Russian soldiers and Russian artillery,” he said.
“May I ask you how many houses were destroyed because of Brexit? We have whole cities that have been completely destroyed,” he said, adding: “With this situation, thank you, no comparison.”
Johnson sparked controversy on Saturday when he made a direct comparison between the war in Ukraine and Brexit in a speech to the Conservative Spring Conference.
He told Tory party members in Blackpool: “It is the instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom every time.
“When the British people voted for Brexit in such large, large numbers, I do not think it was because they were hostile to foreigners – it is because they wanted to be free to do things differently and that this country could run . itself.”
The prime minister has refused to withdraw the flammable claim despite criticism, insisting that Ukraine was not offended.
Johnson was reportedly regretting the comparison after it was branded as “insulting” to the Ukrainian people and “insane”.
But his spokesman made it clear he had no “thinking thoughts”, arguing that it is legitimate to categorize both struggles as a “desire for freedom”.