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Pankaj Mishra

Ukraine Shouldn’t Overplay Its Hand With Allies

Getting involved in their domestic politics would be unwise under any circumstances but even more so now, as voters grow frustrated with the costs of a protracted war.

Too close for comfort?

Too close for comfort?

Photographer: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Until his ignominious fall this week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson could count on unstinting support from at least one quarter: Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy claimed to be “very happy” last month when a flailing Johnson won, narrowly, a vote of no-confidence in his leadership of the Tory party.

Only this week Johnson was dialing the Ukrainian leader's phone number after being caught lying about his promotion of a serial groper — the scandal that finally brought him down. Indeed, strategically timed conversations with Zelenskiy had become Johnson’s preferred distraction from his scandal-battered government in recent weeks.