The future of Ukraine and Zelensky’s low-profile relationship with Britain

Zelensky and his wife had tea at Buckingham Palace last week as part of an official visit but almost nobody noticed. Mary Dejevsky wonders how Britain’s relationship with Ukraine will evolve

Wednesday 14 October 2020 18:06
Boris Johnson greets  Volodymyr Zelensky outside 10 Downing Street
Boris Johnson greets Volodymyr Zelensky outside 10 Downing Street

link and you could have missed it. The President of Ukraine and his wife have just spent two days on an official visit to the UK, and almost no one noticed – which was a pity.

The president of where, you ask. Ukraine – you remember, the country we made such a fuss about a few years ago when Moscow lopped off its Crimean peninsula and attached it to Russia, claiming it belonged there all along? And who is the president exactly? Well, you must remember something about the guy everyone called a comedian who played a fictional president in a television series and then won an election for real? Well, that’s who. Volodymyr Zelensky is now President Zelensky, he has a wife called Olena, and they were in London on 7 and 8 October.  

The First Couple (though I don’t think they particularly embrace American-style titles) took tea at Buckingham Palace with William and Kate, the first event to be held at the reopened palace. And the president signed a voluminous agreement on all sorts of bilateral cooperation with Boris Johnson. There was no public welcome at the door of No 10, however, and no joint press conference either.

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