Why Boris Johnson was gifted a ceramic cockerel on his visit to Ukraine

A single ceramic cockerel stood untouched on a kitchen cabinet during a bombardment of Borodyanka, giving rise to this new symbol of resistance

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Monday 11 April 2022 15:34 BST
Zelensky hails Boris Johnson's Kyiv's visit

The prime minister was gifted a symbolic ceramic cockerel as he walked through the streets of Kyiv on his surprise visit to the war-torn capital.

A woman approached Boris Johnson and Ukraine’s president Volodymr Zelensky, handing them each a ceramic jug in the shape of a cockerel.

“I’m from London,” the prime minister said, to which the woman smiled and said: “I know, I’m from Kharviv.”

A single ceramic cockerel stood untouched on a kitchen cabinet during a bombardment of Borodianka. The entire high-rise builiding had collapsed but the cockerel managed to survive the blast.

Since then, it has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance and a popular meme on social media.


The ceramic cockerel was first designed by famous Ukrainian artist and sculptor Prokop Bidasiuk.

Borodianka is about 50 miles northwest of Kyiv and has been severely impacted by Russian shelling.

On Thursday, Mr Zelensky warned that the situation in the town of Borodyanka is “significantly more dreadful’” than in nearby Bucha.

On Wednesday, the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen, wrote that of the handful of towns situated to the north west of the capital, including Bucha and Irpin, the damage inflicted upon Borodyanka was the most extensive.

“The destruction in the centre of Borodyanka is the worst for its size I have seen in any of the towns around Kyiv, including Irpin and Bucha, which were much fought over,” he said.

The UK prime minister was in Kyiv on an unannounced visit to show his support to Ukraine amid the ongoing war with Russia, and more international leaders are expected to follow suit.

President Zelensky’s chief adviser, Igor Zhovkva, told Sunday Morning on BBC One that leaders arriving to Ukrainec come “not only with their show of support but something that will have meaning, which has results”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in