After his dominant election victory, Boris Johnson has been swaggering around the UK and global forums. And it’s easy to see why; he’s been given the biggest mandate of any UK government since the days of Margaret Thatcher.
Boris, though, appears to have met his match – and more – in that of Vladimir Putin. UK-Russia relations have been at a pretty low level for years, especially with the 2018 poisoning of the Skripal family.
However, when the two governments came face-to-face recently, it was clear there was a lot of icy and ill-feeling. For many Remain-voting people back in the UK, the idea was that Putin and Johnson would be best mates.
After all, didn’t Russia want a UK exit from the European Union?
Judging from how their initial meetings have gone down, this might not be the case at all. It’s been suggested that Putin was hardly friendly with Johnson when they met at a recent international conference to talk about the Libya situation.
Despite being able to swagger around the UK with complete control, it’s fair to say that the UK’s international clout is significantly reduced today.
A statement from the office of the PM said that Johnson "was clear there had been no change in the UK’s position on Salisbury, which was a reckless use of chemical weapons and a brazen attempt to murder innocent people on UK soil."
So, that obviously leaves all of the ideas that Russia would be best mates with the UK post-Brexit in tatters. In fact, it appears that the UK is set to try and cozy up with the USA, who it would be safe to say is the primary antagonist to Russia.
As such, the UK and the USA are more likely to join together in an anti-Russian bulwark.
There is apparently “no prospect” of an improvement in how the UK and the Russians handle one another.
Despite the UK being short on international allies following the scorched earth approach to Brexit, they see no appetite for a change in relations with Russia.
With Russia about to go through a new constitutional change, too, changes are afoot in Russia. Perhaps, at the moment, the Russian government simply does not have time to play the saber-rattling games that the UK seems so intent to undertake?
Given that Johnson has compared Putin to Dobby, the famous character from Harry Potter, there’s likely very little warmness in their negotiations.
We can only imagine what Mr. Putin might compare the UK PM to, if he was given the platform to do so.
For now, though, we can expect nothing in terms of positive to come from the current relations shared by Russia and the United Kingdom.
With the two countries unlikely to agree on very much moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see what comes next. Hopefully, for once, some kind of peaceful reconciliation can be found: the world needs less conflict and saber-rattling, not more.