Putin threatened me with missile strike before Ukraine war: Boris Johnson

The former Prime Minister also said that he warned Putin that invading Ukraine would lead to Western sanctions and more NATO troops on Russia's borders

IANS London
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi (unseen) speaks during the joint statement after their meeting, in New Delhi, Friday, April 22  2022. (PTI)

Boris Johnson

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had "threatened him with a missile strike during an extraordinary phone call" ahead of Moscow launching its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

He made the remarks in a BBC documentary titled 'Putin Vs the West' which will be broadcast on Monday.

"He threatened me at one point, and he said, 'Boris, I don't want to hurt you but, with a missile, it would only take a minute' or something like that.

"But I think from the very relaxed tone that he was taking, the sort of air of detachment that he seemed to have, he was just playing along with my attempts to get him to negotiate," Johnson was quoted as saying in the documentary.

The former Prime Minister also said that he warned Putin that invading Ukraine would lead to Western sanctions and more NATO troops on Russia's borders.

He also tried to deter Russian military action by telling Putin that Ukraine would not join Nato "for the foreseeable future", the BBC reported.

Also Read

Russian President Putin reaffirms goal of capturing Ukraine's Donbas region

Ukraine war: Russia repeats Putin's new message against a nuclear war

Putin bans 'unfriendly' investors from making transactions in Russia

Russia's chaotic draft leaves some reservists out in cold, without gear

Russia accused of 'kidnapping' head of Europe's largest nuclear plant

Palestine urges CIA chief to pressure Israel to stop unilateral measures

May respond differently to Finland's Nato bid: Turkish President Erdogan

US Prez Biden, Speaker McCarthy to discuss debt limit in talks on Wednesday

Trump kicks off first 2024 presidential campaign since declaring nomination

We will resume talks soon to normalise ties with Saudi Arabia: Iranian FM

Johnson further said that "Putin had been very familiar during the most extraordinary call".

The former leader's claims however, have been been official verified.

The BBC documentary also features Defence Secretary Ben Wallace who had flown to Moscow on February 11, 2022, to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.

The film revealed that Wallace left with assurances that Russia would not invade Ukraine, but he said both sides knew it was a lie.

He described it as a "demonstration of bullying or strength, which is: I'm going to lie to you, you know I'm lying and I know you know I'm lying and I'm still going to lie to you. I think it was about saying 'I'm powerful'".

Wallace went on to say that the "fairly chilling, but direct lie" had confirmed his belief that Russia would invade.

As he left the meeting, he said Gen Valery Gerasimov, Russia's chief of general staff, told him "never again will we be humiliated".

Less than a fortnight later, as tanks rolled over the border on February 24, 2022, Johnson received a phone call in the middle of the night from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Zelensky's very, very calm. But, he tells me, you know, they're attacking everywhere," the former Prime Minister said, adding that he offered to help move the President to safety.

"He doesn't take me up on that offer. He heroically stayed where he was."




(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Jan 30 2023 | 9:49 AM IST

Explore News