REPORTING from journalists in Ukraine over the last few weeks has been moving. Their accounts of the destruction and death inflicted upon Ukraine has been impossible to look away from.

But it is the photographs and videos that have been the most affecting.

The image of a pregnant woman being stretchered out of a bombed maternity hospital in Mariupol was horrifying. All the more so when we learned that both she and her baby died shortly after it was taken.

The videos of brave men saying goodbye to their families for what could be the last time force you to imagine yourself in their place.

Even as a mental exercise, it is horrifying to contemplate. What would those embraces feel like, as you watch your family leave while you stay and fight for your country’s freedom?

The strength it must take to untangle the tiny arms of your child from around your neck and tell them it’s time for them to go somewhere safe, without you by their side, is breathtaking.

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A lot has been written about the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people. It is truly humbling. I mention this knowing that the vast majority of people will view their brave fight against Putin’s onslaught in much the same way.

I also mention it because, yet again, Boris Johnson has shown that his self-interest makes him incapable of seeing the world as others do.

His comments at the Conservative Party spring conference in Blackpool at the weekend were deeply troubling. They were more than just offensive because they highlighted the disconnect between our leading politician and the people he was elected to serve.

While ordinary people across the UK are doing what they can to help the people of Ukraine – organising, donating, signing up to offer sanctuary to refugees – the Prime Minister only thinks of himself.

By comparing the heroism of the people of Ukraine in fighting Russian aggression and the UK’s decision to leave the EU, he reminds us (though we do not need it) that he is unfit to lead.

He said that the people of the UK, like the Ukrainians, had the instinct “to choose freedom”, and he offered conference the vote to leave the UK as a “recent example” of this.

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He says this as though we don’t remember what the EU referendum campaign was all about.

It goes without saying that months of arguing about bendy bananas and dog-whistle scaremongering about immigration is incomparable to the harrowing plight of Ukrainians under siege from bombs and bullets.

In an interview yesterday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak sought to defend Boris Johnson. “I don’t think the Prime Minister was making a direct comparison between these two things – clearly they’re not directly analogous. He was making some general observations about people’s desire from freedom,” he said.

In what has become a familiar feature of Boris Johnson’s premiership, his words were condemned from people across the political spectrum.

Labour’s Rachel Reeves said it was “shameless” for the Prime Minister to draw a parallel between the vote to leave the UK and “the people of Ukraine, who are fighting for their lives”.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood tweeted: “Comparing the Ukrainian people’s fight against Putin’s tyranny to the British people voting for Brexit damages the standard of statecraft we were beginning to exhibit.”

Ian Blackford said the Prime Minister’s words were “crass and distasteful”.

The LibDem leader Sir Ed Davey described Boris Johnson as a “national embarrassment”. “To compare a referendum to women and children fleeing Putin’s bombs is an insult to every Ukrainian. He is no Churchill: he is Basil Fawlty,” he said.

Despite the fact that Boris Johnson is applying his usual woeful standard of care and sensitivity to this crisis, his allies still claim that the Prime Minister is having a “good” war.

They demand that opposition MPs (as well as those on his own side who have been critical over partygate) put politics aside and give the Prime Minister their backing in order to show Putin that the UK is united.

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But this week has shown that Boris Johnson is unwilling to do the same. No matter the crisis – be it the pandemic, the cost of living crisis, or the war in Ukraine – the Prime Minister is motivated only by self-interest.

No issue is bigger than his ego.

That’s why it wasn’t at all surprising to see him make the ridiculous suggestion that if Labour were in power, they would “raise the white flag” to Putin, as he did to an audience of Tory activists last week.

True to form, Boris Johnson has decided to seek political and personal advantage from the war in Ukraine.

It’s a shoddy way for any politician to behave – let alone the Prime Minister of the country.

His deluded MPs still cling on to the hope that this will be the moment Boris Johnson finally rises to the challenge and takes his job seriously.

As his comments last week showed, theirs is a wish that is destined never to be fulfilled.