'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

"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.

"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

'Dear God!': Nick Ferrari baffled by Platinum Jubilee bunting ban

'Dear God!': Nick Ferrari baffled by Platinum Jubilee bunting ban

'He chooses to serve this country': Minister defends Chancellor after he made Rich List

Rich List Rishi Sunak 'could do anything with his life but he serves his country'

'I don't like Clive!' Nick Ferrari disgusted by work drinks bullying compo

'I don't like Clive!': Nick Ferrari disgusted by work drinks bullying compo

'I started worrying about my job': Caller recounts experience with 'micromanaging' boss

'I started worrying about my job': Caller recounts working with 'micromanaging' boss

Dominic Raab said it would be Sue Gray's "prerogative" to "name and shame" politicians who were issued with fines

'Boris didn't get away with Partygate': Raab says it's up to Sue Gray to name and shame

Kit Malthouse said "we believe the law should be blind"

Minister slaps down police chief who said shoplifters stealing to eat should be spared

Caller hosting Ukrainian refugees admits she regrets it

Caller regrets hosting Ukrainian refugees as it has cost 'hundreds of pounds'

Liz Truss explained plans to alter parts of the Northern Ireland protocol

'We don’t want to scrap NI protocol, just the bits that don’t work': Truss tells LBC

NHS sees bureaucratic 'explosion' as number of senior officials soars by 125%

NHS sees bureaucratic 'explosion' as number of managers soars by 125%

Tony Danker said potentially two million Brits are skipping meals

'Do something to help,' CBI chief tells Sunak as millions of Brits forced to skip meals

Brexit isn't being 'held against' UK in Eurovision, says world's first lecturer on the contest

Brexit isn't being 'held against' UK in Eurovision, says world's first lecturer on contest

Daniel Barnett reacts to 'bizarre' tribunal ruling that calling man bald is sex harassment

Daniel Barnett reacts to 'bizarre' tribunal ruling that calling man bald is sex harassment

Rees-Mogg said Khan is not providing "value" for Londoners

'Hunky dory for him, tough on tax payers': Mogg hits out at Khan's US trip

Nick Ferrari reflects on his trip on the PM's plane

LBC Views: Boris got a warm welcome in Finland, but would it be the same in Finchley?

Lisa Nandy: Tory MP's 'Brits can't cook' comment shows govt's 'living on another planet'

Lisa Nandy: Tory MP's 'Brits can't cook' comment shows govt's 'living on another planet'

This was the Eurovision question from Nick Ferrari that stumped Boris Johnson

This was the Eurovision question from Nick Ferrari that stumped Boris Johnson