'He's not the lion but he gives the roar': Boris compares Zelenskyy to Churchill

24 March 2022, 08:25 | Updated: 24 March 2022, 08:28

Boris Johnson compared Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Winston Churchill
Boris Johnson compared Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Winston Churchill. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Will Taylor

Boris Johnson has compared Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Churchill because of his brave wartime leadership.

The Prime Minister told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast the comedian-turned-statesman "may not have been the lion but he's been privileged to give the roar", evoking one of his hero's famous quotes.

Mr Johnson, an aficionado of Britain's Second World War PM who has written a book of him, lavished praise on Mr Zelenskyy.

The president has earned respect around the world for his defiant messages issued even as Russian forces invaded his country en masse.

He refused to flee the capital Kyiv despite him and the city being considered Vladimir Putin's prime target.

Speaking to Nick before flying to a Nato summit in Brussels, Mr Johnson said: "I think that President Zelenskyy has proved to be a quite remarkable leader of his people - he's rallied them and he's been their voice.

"He knows, as Churchill said of himself, he may not have been the lion but he's been privileged to give the roar.

Read more: Boris wants to punish Putin by going for Russia's gold as 'he already crossed red lines'

Read more: Boris Johnson: It is 'beyond satire' Russia would be allowed to host Euro 2028

PM: We have a duty to help protect Ukrainians.

"It's the Ukrainian people who have been the lion, and he's expressed their will and their sense of defiance."

Mr Johnson and Mr Zelenskyy are said to have a very positive relationship, with reports recently claiming the latter serenaded the Prime Minister with an alternative rendition of "All You Need is Love" by The Beatles in a call.

He reportedly replaced the word "love" with "NLAW", the missile launcher sent by the UK which has laid waste to Russia's armoured vehicles.

Ukrainians have also joked they will shout "God save the Queen when they fire the weapons.

To be compared to Churchill by Mr Johnson shows how highly the Prime Minister rates Mr Zelenskyy, too.

The Ukrainian president himself had referred to a famous Churchill speech as he gave a historic address to MPs in the House of Commons through videolink.

PM says he will go after Russia's gold as Putin has crossed red lines

"We will not surrender, we will not lose, we will go to the end. We will fight at sea, we will fight in the air, we will protect our land.

"We will fight everywhere… we will not surrender."

Mr Johnson also told Nick that he wanted to urge more measures against Russia, including possibly going after its gold reserves.

He is due to meet Nato leaders in Brussels on Thursday. He is also due to dispatch some 6,000 missiles to Ukraine to help their defence of their country – with Kyiv’s military apparently going on the counter-offensive in some places.

Mr Johnson also dismissed Russia’s attempts to host Euro 2028, a rival bid to Britain and Ireland’s, as “beyond satire”.

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Dame Esther Rantzen has told LBC why she is campaigning to change the law on assisted dying

‘Dogs get treated better than humans’, Esther Rantzen says, as TV legend demands assisted dying law change

Rishi Sunak (l) puts on a brave face to the Tories by-election defeats on a visit to Harlow. New Kingswood MP Damien Egan (top r) and Wellingborough MP Gem Kitchen (bottom r)

Rishi Sunak begs frustrated Tories 'not to put Starmer in power' after party suffers double by-election disaster

New Labour MPs Damien Egan and Gen Kitchen

'They are not very good results': Tory chairman admits after double by-election drubbings as MPs call for tax cuts

The peer was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast

'It was known yesterday' Azhar Ali had made more Israel conspiracy theory comments, peer tells LBC

Scammers should be treated like violent criminals, a senior anti-fraud officer has said.

Scammers should be treated like violent criminals, senior anti-fraud officer tells LBC

The vessel is due to lead the largest Nato exercise since the Cold War, involving more than 40 vessels, after its sister ship was forced to cancel its deployment because of an 'issue' with its propeller shaft.

HMS Prince of Wales docked while it should be 'defending our interests abroad', Minister brands it 'not acceptable'

Lord Rose took aim at government quangos in the wake of the Post Office scandal

'They grow like multi-headed hydras': Asda chairman takes aim at government quangos after Post Office scandal

Lord Stuart Rose speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Police 'not picking up the phone' to attend shoplifting 'endemic', Lord Stuart Rose tells LBC

Dentists who set up practice in areas of England with poor access to NHS care will be offered a £20,000 bonus

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins stumped on exact figure for new dentists as ministers plan £20,000 ‘golden hello’

When asked by Nick to sum up the Government in one word, Ms Keegan said: "Delivering."

Gillian Keegan rates the Government using Ofsted descriptions - and it's not 'Outstanding'

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan tells LBC she is ‘very, very confident’ of 15 hours of free childcare by April

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan tells LBC she is ‘very, very confident’ of 15 hours of free childcare by April

'Fairer' social housing reforms will ensure system used 'in the right way' by those who 'play by the rules', the Housing Minister told LBC

'Fairer' social housing reforms will ensure system used 'in the right way' by those who 'play by the rules'

Iceland CEO on his support for Labour after defecting from the Tories.

'The Tories have failed the nation': Iceland CEO and former Tory donor throws support behind Labour

The policing minister has said first-time offenders for knife crime will not be jailed.

No plans to jail first-time knife offenders despite desperate pleas of Nottingham attack victim's family

US voters can do better than Donald Trump and Joe Biden

'Two old men fighting over a Zimmer frame': US can do better than Trump or Biden as president, says Jon Sopel

Nick Ferrari says bosses need to 'get a grip' and start justifying their huge pay packets with services that actually work

Firms led by overpaid bosses need a ‘reality check’ - let's get people back to the office, says Nick Ferrari