British Prime Minister Boris Johnson compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016.
He argued that both examples showed the willingness of countries to fight for their freedom.
“I know it’s the instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom every time,” Johnson said at the Conservative party conference on Saturday.
“When Britons voted in such large numbers for Brexit, I don’t think they were hostile to foreigners,” he said. “It’s because they wanted to be free to do things differently and for this country to be able to run itself.”
Johnson reiterated the UK’s support for the Ukrainian people in their fight against Russian aggression. He said economic sanctions against Russia had a “cost” but “the cost of doing nothing would be much, much higher”.
The Prime Minister also said: “It is the invincible strength of this country that we believe, as a whole and within the law, that people should be able to do whatever they want provided they do nothing harm no one else. This is called freedom.
The Prime Minister suggested that Britain’s freedom appealed to people fleeing war in Ukraine or political oppression in Russia. “We just want to be free, and that’s why talented people are fleeing Russia right now,” he said.
“This is Putin’s tragedy. There is a sense in which his disastrous mistake in Ukraine is itself an argument for democracy and freedom.