Putin threatened to launch a missile at me: Boris Johnson
LONDON President Vladimir Putin threatened to personally target Boris Johnson with a missile attack just before ordering Russian forces into Ukraine, the former British prime minister has claimed.
The apparent threat came in a phone call just before the February 24 invasion, according to a new BBC documentary which will air on Monday (January 30).
Mr Johnson and other Western leaders rushed to Kyiv to show their support for Ukraine and try to deter a Russian attack.
“He kind of threatened me at one point and said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile it would only take a minute,’ or something like that,” Mr Johnson said, quoting Mr Putin. .
Mr Johnson has become one of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s most passionate Western supporters.
But before the invasion, he says he made an effort to tell Mr Putin that there was no imminent prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, while warning him that any invasion would mean ” more NATO, not less NATO” on Russia’s borders.
“He said, ‘Boris, you’re saying Ukraine isn’t going to join NATO anytime soon.
“‘What’s coming soon?’ And I said, well, he’s not going to join NATO for the foreseeable future. You know that full well.”
On the missile threat, Mr Johnson added: ‘I think from the very relaxed tone he took, the kind of detachment he seemed to have, he was just playing with my attempts to negotiate it.”
The BBC documentary traces the growing rift between the Russian leader and the West in the years leading up to the invasion of Ukraine.
It also features Mr. Zelensky reflecting on his thwarted ambitions to join NATO before Russia attacked.
“If you know that tomorrow Russia will occupy Ukraine, why don’t you give me something today with which I can stop it?” he says.
“Or if you can’t give it to me, then stop it yourself.” AFP
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