Putin made ‘jolly’ missile threat to me before Ukraine war
Former British leader Boris Johnson has accused warmongering Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally threatening to “hurt” him with a missile just days before the Ukraine war.
The ex-prime minister told a BBC documentary that Putin, 70, made the chilling threat during the “most extraordinary call” in February, as Russian troops amassed near the border of Ukraine ready to invade that month.
“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,” Johnson, 58, claimed.
“You know, jolly,” he added with a nervous smile as made a classic British understatement.
“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” and stay out of Ukraine, Johnson said.
The threat came as Putin raised his paranoia that Ukraine was about to join NATO, a long-held fear used to justify the brutal war that has now dragged on for more than 11 months.
Johnson, 58, mimicked Putin saying his name as he recalled him challenging the UK’s standing that Ukraine was not joining NATO “any time soon.”
“He said it in English — ‘Any time soon. What is any time soon?” Johnson recalled, with Johnson saying he explained to the Russian leader that it meant at least for “the foreseeable future.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that what Johnson had said was not true — or “more precisely, a lie.”
“There were no threats to use missiles,” Peskov added to the BBC, saying that Johnson’s claim was “either a deliberate falsehood” or “he didn’t understand what President Putin was saying to him.”
The Kremlin leader had merely noted that “if Ukraine joined NATO the potential deployment of NATO or US missiles near Russia’s border would mean that any missile could reach Moscow within minutes,” the Kremlin mouthpiece claimed.
At the time of the alleged call, Russia was still adamantly denying plans to invade its neighbor, which the UK knew was just the latest lie, UK officials confirmed in the documentary, “Putin Vs the West.”
Such assurances were made to UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace when he flew to Moscow just a few weeks before the invasion, he told the doc.
Wallace called the “fairly chilling, but direct lie” an attempt to show that Putin was “powerful.”
It was 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,” Wallace said.