Boris Johnson says Vladimir Putin threatened him with missile strike : NPR
Matt Dunham / AP
LONDON – Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says President Vladimir Putin did not appear to be serious about avoiding war in the days before Russia invaded Ukraine – and at one point told the British leader he would easily kill him with a rocket.
The Kremlin denies that Putin made any such threats.
In a documentary released on Monday, Johnson said he phoned Putin in February 2022 and tried to stop him from going to war, telling him Ukraine would not join NATO in the future. the near future – a longstanding concern of the Russian leader – and warned that an invasion would bring “major aggression”. “Western sanctions.
Johnson said in the BBC’s “Putin vs the West” series: “From the very relaxed tone of voice he was using, the kind of aloof air he seemed to have, he was just playing along with his efforts. me to convince him to negotiate.” “
Johnson said that Putin “had a point where he threatened me and said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a rocket, it’ll only take a minute’, or something like that.”
The three-part series produced by veteran documentary filmmaker Norma Percy recounts how Western leaders dealt with the Russian president in the years leading up to the February 24, 2022 invasion.
Percy said on Monday that she doesn’t think Putin is making a direct threat but “it’s a reminder that he can do it, and (Johnson) should keep that in mind when dealing with him.” that.”
Asked about Johnson’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said his account was untrue, “or more accurately, a lie.” Peskov said Johnson may have intentionally lied or didn’t understand what Putin was telling him.
“There is no threat with missiles,” Peskov said on a conference call with reporters. “While talking about the security challenges facing Russia, President Putin said that if Ukraine joins NATO, the possibility of deploying US or other NATO missiles near our borders means that any missile that could reach Moscow in minutes.”
Johnson is one of the most prominent international alliesof Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy until he was forced out of office in mid-2022 by ethics scandals. Britain remains the main supplier of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.