Boris Johnson is visiting Ukraine – despite military figures urging him not to

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Boris Johnson has visited Ukraine again despite warnings from senior military figures that he should stay away and stop “seeking publicity”.

The former prime minister was seen in the outskirts of Kiev on Sunday as he comes under pressure from claims the TBEN chairman helped arrange talks leading to his £800,000 line of credit while he was number 10.

Former army chief Lord Dannett had previously told TBEN that Mr Johnson was an “empty cannon” whose plan could trump Rishi Sunak, while ex-First Sea Lord warned the former Prime Minister against “seeking publicity”.

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But Johnson said he was invited by President Volodymyr Zelensky to revisit the country – urging Western leaders to give Ukraine “all the tools they need”.

In a statement on Sunday, the former prime minister said: “It is a privilege to visit Ukraine at the invitation of President Zelensky. The suffering of the people of Ukraine has lasted too long.”

“The only way to end this war is for Ukraine to win – and win as soon as possible,” he added. “Now is the time to double down and give the Ukrainians all the tools they need to get the job done. The sooner Putin fails, the better for Ukraine and for the whole world.”

On Sunday, Johnson made unannounced visits to two suburbs north of Kiev — two areas where Russian troops are accused of atrocities after a failed attack on the capital last year.

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He is expected to meet Mr Zelensky later on Sunday in what could be seen as an attempt to undermine his successor’s authority and bolster his own legacy of support for Ukraine.

Mr Johnson is said to have failed to seek permission from No. 10 for this visit – his fourth trip to Ukraine since the Russian invasion. However, Downing Street said Mr Sunak “supported” Mr Johnson’s latest visit.

The Prime Minister’s press secretary said on Sunday that Mr Sunak “always supports all colleagues who show that the UK is behind Ukraine and will continue to support them”.

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Asked last week about reports of a planned trip to Ukraine by Mr Johnson, Lord Dannatt told me TBEN: “Boris Johnson has been a loose cannon all his life”, adding: “I don’t think he can do any harm as long as he doesn’t try to outdo Rishi Sunak.”

Lord West, former First Sea Lord, said ex-prime ministers “shouldn’t be looking for publicity and plaudits – they should help support the British government and keep a low profile”.

Senior Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defense committee, also said Mr Johnson should not interfere in official relations between the countries when the possibility of Mr Johnson’s trip first arose.

Boris Johnson shakes hands with baby during a visit to the church in Bucha

(Reuters)

It comes as Labor called for an investigation following allegations that TBEN chairman Richard Sharp helped arrange a guarantee on an £800,000 credit line weeks before being recommended for the job by the then Prime Minister.

The party has written to Daniel Greenberg, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, in response to a report in the Sunday Times that Mr. Sharp was involved in talks about helping Mr. Johnson when he was in financial difficulties.

But a spokesman for Mr Johnson dismissed the report as “nonsense” – insisting the former Prime Minister had not asked Mr Sharp for financial advice, saying his financial arrangements were “correctly stated”.

Speaking of Mr Johnson’s private dinner with Mr Sharp and Sam Blyth, the former Prime Minister’s distant relative who acted as guarantor, the spokesman said: “So what? Big problem.’

Mr Sharp told the Sunday Times“There is no conflict when, at his request, I simply connected Mr Blyth with the Cabinet Secretary and had nothing further to do with it.”

Labour’s shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell MP has now also written to the Commissioner for Public Appointments, William Shawcross, asking them to look into the process of appointing Mr Sharp.

Boris Johnson visits the Borodianka suburb

(Reuters)

Meanwhile, Secretary of State James Cleverly has claimed he would like “nothing more” than to see Ukrainians armed with German-made Leopard 2 tanks.

Mr Cleverly was asked on the TBEN Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg program whether he was disappointed that Germany did not authorize the release of its Leopard 2 main battle tanks.

The foreign minister refused to criticize Berlin directly, saying it is up to “each sovereign government to decide how best to support the Ukrainians as a member of NATO”.

However, he noted that he would like nothing more than to see the Ukrainians equipped “with the most up-to-date armored vehicles”.

His remarks come after a pledging conference in Germany on Friday ended without a commitment from Western allies to send more main battle tanks to Ukraine, despite a call from Mr Zelensky to speed up the delivery of military aid.

So far, among NATO allies, only the UK has agreed to send tanks, in the form of 14 British Army Challenger 2s. It had been hoped that Germany would authorize the release of its main battle tanks, which may be available in much greater numbers.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said officials were “working hard to meet Ukraine’s requirements for tanks and other armored vehicles”.

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