Boris Johnson claims Putin threatened to fire a missile at him
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russian President Vladimir V. Putin made a veiled threat to fire a missile at him, a claim the Kremlin dismissed as a lie on Monday.
Mr Johnson recounted the exchange, which he said took place when he was Prime Minister on the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, in an interview for a BBC documentary which has been released monday. He said it happened during a long phone call in which he tried to dissuade Mr Putin from invading, arguing it would lead to more sanctions and an increased NATO presence near the Russian border.
He threatened me at one point and said, you know, Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile it would only take a minute, or something, said Mr. Johnson about the Russian leadership’s response. He added that Mr Putin’s threat had been light-hearted, seeming to suggest he had not taken it seriously.
From the very relaxed tone he took, the kind of detachment he seemed to have, he was just playing with my attempts to get him to negotiate, Mr Johnson said.
Full transcripts of phone calls between government leaders are generally not published, making it difficult to independently verify the version of the conversation on either side. The BBC said on its website that records of the call issued by the British and Russian governments at the time contained no reference to a personal threat from Mr Putin.
The Kremlin was quick to dismiss the memory of Mr Johnson’s appeal.
It’s a lie. There was no missile threat, Kremlins spokesman Dmitry S. Peskov told reporters on Monday when asked about Mr Johnson’s remarks. Mr Peskov said it was possible the former British leader did not understand what Mr Putin had said.
Mr Johnson played a key role in rallying international support for Ukraine in the first weeks of the invasion and was one of the first Western leaders to visit the country after the war began in late February. ‘last year.
Since announcing his resignation in July amid a series of scandals, Mr Johnson has sought to portray his role in Ukraine, where he remains popular, as one of the most significant achievements of his three years in the job. power. His supporters frequently cite his advocacy for Ukraine as part of a case for Mr Johnson’s potential return as party leader.
Earlier this month Mr Johnson paid another visit to Ukraine, an unusual move for a former leader, and spoke with President Volodymyr Zelensky, who called him a true friend of Ukraine.
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