Boris Johnson claims Vladimir Putin threatened to kill him with missile in call ahead of Russian invasion of Ukraine | Politics News
Boris Johnson said Vladimir Putin threatened to kill him with a rocket during a call ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The ex-premier said that Russian leader told him: “I don’t want to hurt you, but with a rocket it will only take a minute” in an “extraordinary” conversation that took place in February after his visit to Kyiv.
Mr Johnsonwho would become a key supporter Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s the US administration made the announcement in the months following the Russian invasion as part of a new BBC Two series that chronicles how the West fought Mr Putin in the years leading up to the war.
The former prime minister recalled that during his visit to Kyiv, he warned Putin that an invasion of Ukraine would be disastrous and that in this case, tougher Western sanctions would be imposed on Russia.
Mr. Johnson also said he told the Russian leader that the escalation would only see Western states step up support for Ukraine, which means “more NATO, not less NATO” on Russia’s borders.
“He said: “Boris, you say that Ukraine is not going to join NATO in the near future. […] What will happen in the near future? and I said, “Well, she’s not going to join NATO for the foreseeable future. You know this very well,” Johnson said of a telephone conversation with Putin.
“He sort of threatened me at one point and said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a rocket it only takes a minute’ or something like that.
“I think, judging by the very relaxed tone that he carried and the kind of detachment he had, he was just playing along with my attempts to get him to negotiate.”
Earlier this month Mr Johnson made an unexpected visit to Ukraine amid renewed scrutiny of his personal finances.
The former prime minister said it was a “privilege” for him to be invited to the war-torn country by the president. Volodymyr Zelensky, with whom he had a close working relationship during his tenure.
Downing Street indicated that Rishi Sunak “supported” the visit after saying it could undermine his authority in foreign policy.
Mr Johnson was pictured visiting Borodyanka near Kyiv, a city heavily affected by Russian invasion.
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In a statement, Mr. Johnson said: “The suffering of the people of Ukraine has gone on for far too long.
“The only way for Ukraine to end this war is to win, and win as quickly as possible. Now is the time to redouble our efforts and give Ukrainians all the tools they need to get the job done.”
Johnson’s spokesman added that he fully supports the UK government’s policy towards Ukraine, including the recent decision to send Challenger 2 tanks.
The ex-premier positioned himself as a key ally of Kyiv during his tenure as number 10, lending support and urging Western allies to follow suit in the early days of the Russian invasion last February.
As his scandal-ridden premiership crumbled, Johnson was accused of using trips to Ukraine or phone calls with Zelensky as a distraction from crises at home.
The trip came amid accusations from BBC chairman Richard Sharpe. helped the former prime minister get a loan guarantee – and that Mr Johnson later recommended Mr Sharp for the role of chairman of the BBC.
Johnson’s spokesman called the message “bullshit”.
Senior Tories expressed concern about the trip, and House Defense Committee Chairman Tobias Ellwood told the newspaper that Mr Johnson should not “interfere in communications or official lines of communication” between London and Kyiv.