Boris Johnson says Putin said he could hit him with missile
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said President Vladimir Putin did not appear serious about avoiding war in the days before Russia invaded Ukraine – and at one point told the British leader it would be easy to beat him with a kill missile.
The Kremlin has denied that Putin made such a threat.
In a documentary released Monday, Johnson says he called Putin in February 2022 and tried to talk him out of war, telling him that Ukraine would not join NATO in the foreseeable future – a long-standing concern from the Russian leader – and warnings would bring an invasion. massive” Western sanctions.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sanctions against Russia. (Getty)
“From the very relaxed tone he adopted, the kind of detachment he seemed, he just played along with my efforts to get him to negotiate,” Johnson said in the BBC series “Putin vs the West. “
Johnson says that Putin “threatened me at one point and said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile it will only take a minute,’ or something like that.”
The three-part series produced by veteran documentary maker Norma Percy chronicles how Western leaders dealt with Russia’s president in the years leading up to the February 24, 2022 invasion.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meet NATO troops at an air base in Tallinn, Estonia. (AP)
Percy said Monday that she didn’t think Putin was making a direct threat, but “it was a reminder that he can do that, and (Johnson) needs to remember that when dealing with him.”
Asked about Johnson’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said his account was untrue, “or, more precisely, it was a lie.” Peskov said Johnson may have deliberately lied or not understood what Putin was telling him.
“There were no threats with missiles,” Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, near the Kremlin Wall during the national celebrations of ‘Defender of the Fatherland Day’ in Moscow, Russia. (AP)
“While speaking about security challenges for Russia, President Putin said that if Ukraine joined NATO, the potential deployment of US or other NATO missiles near our borders would mean any such missile could reach Moscow within minutes.”
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Johnson was one of the most prominent international allies of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy until he was forced from office in mid-2022 by ethics scandals. Britain remains a major provider of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.