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Ukrainians sign petition to give citizenship, PM role to UK's Johnson


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A tongue-in-cheek petition to give outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Ukrainian citizenship and make him the country’s prime minister has garnered over 2,500 signatures hours after being put up on Ukraine’s official petitions site on Tuesday.

Despite losing domestic popularity and eventually having been forced to announce his resignation after dozens of ministerial departures in early July, Johnson remains a cult figure in Kyiv for his vocal support of Ukraine as it fights off Russia’s invasion.

Paintings, murals, and even cakes in Ukraine’s capital bear the likeness of the man some Ukrainians affectionately call “Johnsoniuk.” 

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In this image provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson talk during their walk in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 9, 2022.

In this image provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson talk during their walk in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 9, 2022.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

The petition, addressed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, lists Johnson’s strengths as “worldwide support for Boris Johnson, a clear position against the military invasion of Ukraine, (and) wisdom in the political, financial and legal spheres.”

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In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, listens to a servicemen report close to the front line in Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File)

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, listens to a servicemen report close to the front line in Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File)
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File)

The petition, however, does acknowledge one negative side of such an appointment: its non-compliance with Ukraine’s constitution.

In an apparent coincidence, several hours after the petition was put up on Tuesday, Johnson presented Zelenskyy with the Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award for what his Downing Street office described as “incredible courage, defiance, and dignity” in the face of Russia’s invasion.

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In this image provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, second left, meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, third right, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 17, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

In this image provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, second left, meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, third right, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 17, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
((Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Zelenskyy did not mention the new petition when accepting the award, but he will be obliged to officially respond if it receives 25,000 signatures.

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Accepting the award via video link from Kyiv, Zelenskyy quoted wartime British premier Churchill, saying that Johnson “had no thought of quitting the struggle” when the going got tough.

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