Boris Johnson wants to create a group like-minded countries as an alternative to EU
Boris Johnson (UK Prime Minister) has apparently suggested Ukraine join an alliance that London seeks to set up as a parallel structure to the EU.
Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper ran a report on Thursday claiming that there was a growing rift between Kiev and the EU over the bloc’s response to Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine.
The outlet’s assessment of Kiev-Brussels relations apparently stems from frequent criticisms leveled by senior Ukrainian officials at some EU member states over the amount and extent of military support they are willing to provide to Kiev, as well as the bloc’s inability to impose an embargo on Russian energy imports so far.
According to Corriere della Sera, citing people familiar with the talks, London has been actively working to set up a ‘European Commonwealth’ for more than a month now. Johnson is reportedly trying to create an alternative to EU, which would have the UK, Ukraine and Poland as well as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Lithuania. The new alliance would reportedly welcome nations which value their sovereignty, are proponents of economic liberalism, and are determined to repel the “Moscow poses a threat to the military”
It would likely include both political and economic dimensions.
The outlet was told by sources that Johnson introduced this idea to Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, during his surprise visit in Kiev on April 9th. According to reports, the UK has been courting Ukraine continuously since that time.
According to the report, neither the Ukrainian government declined or accepted the offer.
It is suggested that Zelensky waits for the EU summit results on June 23, where member states will determine whether to award Ukraine candidate status. This will pave the road for joining talks.
It is also possible, the outlet claims, that rumors of London’s plans to woo Kiev away from the EU are meant to put additional pressure on the leaders of member states ahead of their meeting next month.
While unanimously condemning Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, individual member states have offered Kiev varying levels of military support. Despite being far from the wealthiest members of the bloc, Poland and the Baltic states are firmly in the lead when it comes to contributing to Ukraine’s defense, while powerhouses such as France and Germany have kept their donations relatively modest to date.
Commenting on this latest report in the Italian media, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Russian officials were not aware whether Johnson indeed has these intentions, though if it turns out to be the case, Moscow would view this as an attempt by London to ignite a feud to undermine the EU’s position.