Volodymyr Zelensky has said he hopes Boris Johnson will maintain a position in politics after quitting as prime minister in order to continue his support for Ukraine.
The Ukrainian president said he happy to maintain “the same close relationship” with either of the candidates to replace Mr Johnson as PM, Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss.
Speaking to Piers Morgan in an interview to be broadcast on his Uncensored programme on Talk TV at 8pm on Wednesday, Mr Zelensky said that he did not want Mr Johnson to “disappear” after he leaves office in September.
But he declined to offer his support to a campaign launched by former Tory treasurer Lord Cruddas to keep Mr Johnson as PM, saying: “I have no right to play in politics inside the UK.”
His comments came after Ukrainian MP Oleksii Goncharenko called for Johnson to be made Nato secretary general when Jens Stoltenberg steps down next year.
Mr Zelensky was not asked what future role he envisaged for Mr Johnson, but told Morgan: “What I can say is he is a big friend of Ukraine. I want him to be somewhere in politics in a position to be someone.
“I don’t want him to disappear, but the decision is in the hands of the British people.
“But I am sure that whatever position he is going to take he is always going to be with Ukraine. This is from the heart.”
Asked about the battle for the Tory succession between Mr Sunak and Ms Truss, Mr Zelensky said: “I would be happy to co-operate very closely like we used to have with Boris. The same close relationship with the UK and Ukraine.
“I know those two candidates are very respectful and they have the support of the people and the society from the UK. We know about this support. We know about the positive strength of those leaders.
“We would be happy to co-operate with whoever is elected as leader. I used to have contact with Liz Truss. Whoever is the leader, the highest level of support will be provided from the Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian leader also said he would welcome a visit to capital Kyiv by US president Joe Biden as “the strongest signal” of American support for the country’s fight against Russian invaders.