The risk to Britain, Mr Powell said, is that in other European capitals it is seen as just a ‘running dog for the Americans’. That’s helpful for the Biden administration, he said, because “they can always rely on him to come out and say something even more extreme than they are.”
War between Russia and Ukraine: important developments
Missile attack. A rocket attack on a crowded train station in eastern Ukraine left at least 50 dead and nearly 100 injured, Ukrainian officials said, blaming Russia for hitting a key evacuation point for those trying to flee ahead of an expected, stepped-up offensive.
Mr Johnson has forged a very visible relationship with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and calls him almost every day. During the virtual speech of Mr. Zelensky passing foreign parliaments, his first stop was the British House of Commons, where he met Mr. Johnson to thank him for his support.
“It’s helpful to have someone on their feet because you can use them to shame other countries,” Mr Powell said.
For Johnson, the war in Ukraine has completely overshadowed a series of political scandals at home. He certainly showed an astute ability to seize the moment. Last week he recorded a video for the Russian people trying to separate them from Putin. “Your president is accused of committing war crimes,” he said in reasonable Russian. “But I can’t believe he’s acting on your behalf.”
On Friday, Britain imposed sanctions on two daughters of Mr Putin and a daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov. They were the latest in what critics say is a much-anticipated attempt to target wealthy Russians, many of whom have poured ill-gotten gains into real estate in London.
“Before the crisis, the UK’s stance was seen as hypocritical for its failure to handle the Russian wealth pouring into London,” said Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director-general of the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank. “But now it’s done things that people have been pushing for for years.”
Mr Johnson has also hammered hard on the need for Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, a goal that is easier for Britain because it is much less dependent on it than its continental neighbours. On Wednesday, Britain announced it would stop buying Russian coal and oil, and gas “as soon as possible after that” by the end of 2022.