Since Putin gave the go-ahead for more than 100,000 Russian troops lined on Ukraine’s border to invade its neighbour, the UK has been widely-praised for its military and humanitarian response. Britain has provided Ukraine with defensive weapons, including more than 3,600 anti-tank missiles, and civilian supplies like generators and medicines – and sent humanitarian aid totalling almost £400 million.
Seven leading Russian oligarchs and 386 members of the Russian Duma have been hit with asset freezes while, last week, the UK Government published an initial list of goods worth £900million that will now face additional 35 percent tariff, on top of current tariffs.
But Britain has received criticism in some quarters for being slower to crack down on Kremlin-linked money than Europe.
The UK is also only major European country not to have a full open door policy for Ukrainians fleeing the war, and has so far taken fewer refugees than its neighbours.
Now former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, whose country shares a 1,340km border with Russia, has launched a stunning attack against Mr Johnson claims Britain is leading the way in “standing up to Putin”.
The conservative ex-leader, who was elected to the European Parliament in 2004, said: “This idea about ‘Global Britain’ is as true as ‘peaceful Russia’.
“Simply utter rubbish, to put it diplomatically.
“To claim that Boris Johnson ‘has taken a lead globally in standing up to Putin’ is an illusion only possible in Brexit la la land.”
The comments from Mr Stubb comes as Mr Johnson faces a furious backlash after comparing the struggle of Ukrainians fighting the Russian invasion to British people voting for Brexit.
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“It’s because they wanted to be free to do things differently and for this country to be able to run itself.”
The comments were quickly dismissed by former European Council President Donald Tusk, who tweeted: “Boris Johnson likens Ukrainians’ fight to British people voting for Brexit.
“I can still remember the enthusiasm of Putin and Trump after the referendum.
“Boris, your words offend Ukrainians, the British and common sense.”
Former Belgian Prime Minister and current MEP Guy Verhofstadt, another leading critic of Brexit from within the EU, said the comparison was “insane”.
But Rishi Sunak moved quickly to insist he did not think Mr Johnson had been suggesting the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and the fight against Russia’s invasion in Ukraine were “analogous”.
Speaking to Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, the Chancellor said: “No, I don’t think those two situations are directly analogous.
“Clearly they are not directly analogous and I don’t think the Prime Minister was saying that they were directly analogous either.”
Mr Sunak added: “People will draw their own conclusions. People can make up their own minds.”