Here’s How the World Celebrated and Mourned Boris Johnson Quitting

Russia dismissed the British Prime Minister, saying “he really does not like us,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy mourned his departure, and a US TV station claimed him as a New Yorker.
Dipo Faloyin
London, GB
Boris Johnson (right) with U.S. President Joe Biden during the G20 summit on October 30, 2021.
Boris Johnson (right) with U.S. President Joe Biden during the G20 summit on October 30, 2021. Photo: Stefan Rousseau - Pool/Getty Images

Leaders, politicians and analysts around the world have been reacting to the news that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally agreed to resign on Thursday after his own MPs rebelled against his handling of historic sexual abuse allegations. 

The Russian government was the first to respond to his counterpart's demise. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters that the Kremlin had very little sympathy for Johnson because he “really does not like us, and we [do not like] him either.”

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A spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry has claimed the Prime Minister’s downfall is because of Britain’s opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and that the moral of the story is "do not seek to destroy Russia”.

Oleg Deripaska, a Russian tycoon and Putin ally, said that it was an "inglorious end" for a "stupid clown" via Telegram.

Irish Prime Minister, Michael Martin, reminded the world that “the relationship between our Governments has been strained and challenged in recent times.” 

Johnson’s changing position on the Northern Ireland Protocol has been one of the most problematic parts of the Brexit agreement, as it determines the North’s relationship with the Irish Republic, which is an EU member. Some have feared a new rise in sectarian violence if a hard border is reimposed between Northern Ireland and the Republic.  

Martin notes that without Johnson, “we have now an opportunity to return to the true spirit of partnership and mutual respect that is needed to underpin the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.”

The leader of Northern Ireland’s DUP has called on the next prime minister to improve on Johnson’s efforts to amend the Brexit deal. “After two years of failed negotiations, the efforts to remove the Protocol must continue,” Sir Jefferey Donaldson said

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Other world leaders have remained largely silent so far, despite having plenty of time to prepare a statement for a resignation that has appeared inevitable for days. But Johnson has received kind words from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who the Prime Minister has turned to when he was having a difficult time at home.

“Friend Boris Johnson, all Ukrainians were saddened by the news of the resignation of the leader of the Conservative Party,” Zelenskyy said in a statement. “We are sincerely grateful for the decisive and uncompromising help from the first days of the war. Special thanks for your leadership in defending the interests of Ukraine in the international arena.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, and special advisor to Zelenskyy, has released a video message thanking Boris for “realising the threat of the Russian monster and always being at the forefront of supporting Ukraine.” 

Michel Barnier, the former chief Brexit negotiator for the European Union, has welcomed Boris’ departure. “May it be more constructive, more respectful of commitments made, in particular regarding peace & stability in NI, and more friendly with partners in the EU,” Barnier wrote on Twitter. 

Leaders of African countries have avoided commenting so far, but many commentators and analysts from across the continent have enjoyed using this opportunity to adopt the same condescending language used against African countries. 

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And from all the media reactions, the winner might be New York’s NY1, which has treated the story as a local-man-makes-news story.