British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday presented Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with the Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award, drawing comparisons between the two leaders in times of crises.
Zelenskyy accepted the award by video link during a ceremony at Johnson’s London office that was attended by members of the Churchill family, Ukrainian Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko and Ukrainians who have received training from British soldiers.
Johnson recalled how Zelenskyy confirmed on February 24 that Russia had invaded, adding: “In that moment of supreme crisis, you faced a test of leadership that was, in its way, as severe as Churchill’s challenge in 1940.” Zelenskyy thanked Johnson and Britain for their support.
The two men have formed a close relationship since Johnson became the first Western leader to visit Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. Earlier this month, Zelenskyy said he was saddened when Johnson quit as Conservative Party leader after months of ethics scandals.
The Ukrainian leader received a standing ovation in the British Parliament in March, when he invoked one of Churchill’s most famous speeches and vowed to fight Russian troops in the air, sea and on the streets.
The Churchill leadership award was first presented in 2006. Past recipients include Prince Charles, former British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.