Ukraine-Russia crisis: Diplomatic blunders by Boris Johnson and co show Brexit Britain is out of its depth – Kenny MacAskill MP

Buoyed up by new-found British exceptionalism and driven by past tales of glory, UK ministers have been seeking to display the nation’s mettle on the international stage.

Boris Johnson arrives at Kyiv International Airport in Ukraine earlier this month (Picture: Peter Nicholls/pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson arrives at Kyiv International Airport in Ukraine earlier this month (Picture: Peter Nicholls/pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Deftly forgetting the ignominious failures on deals for the New Global Trading Empire, they’ve embarked on major international diplomacy. What a joke...

The latest gaffe’s the Defence Secretary making comparisons between negotiations over Ukraine and those in Munich in 1928.

That’s just a “no no” when so many millions died for Mother Russia in the Second World War. Unintended it may have been, but it was ignorant, insensitive and a total failure in diplomacy all the same. Foreign Office mandarins no doubt had their heads in their hands.

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The Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, was equally out of her depth in Moscow. What did she expect going there to lecture them? Instead, she looked forlorn as Putin’s bruiser laid into her. It’s hard to see what the strategy was. It wasn’t as if she went with proposals for a settlement as French President Emmanuel Macron had done. It was a dialogue of the deaf, as the Russians put it.

When there was a need for a co-ordinated European front, the UK preferred to go it alone, perhaps driven through necessity as relations are estranged with former colleagues.

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But the idea that Britain could lecture Russia was nonsensical and grandstanding that came unstuck. Truss neither looked commanding nor achieved anything.

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It may have played to the rump support of this supercharged New Britain but more widely it looked hapless and she hopeless. Even the supposed special relationship with the USA has been exposed. Biden does as Biden wants and without a by your leave to Britain.

But the rot starts at the top. The image of Boris Johnson descending the steps of a plane in Kiev was eerily reminiscent of Trump. Possessing neither class nor gravitas, his coat, as with his American counterpart, looked too big and his gait was lumbering.

There was just no presence, as you get from those who just have it, and he and his team most certainly don’t. You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

Kenny MacAskill is Alba Party MP for East Lothian

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