Boris Johnson, the former UK Prime Minister, has said Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile strike in an “extraordinary” phone call in the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Johnson said Putin told him it “would only take a minute.”
He said the comment was made after he warned Putin the war would be an “utter catastrophe” during a “very long” call in February 2022.
Johnson warned Putin that invading Ukraine would lead to Western sanctions and more NATO troops on Russia’s borders.
He also attempted to deter Russian military action by telling Putin that Ukraine would not join Nato “in the near future.”
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. Jolly.
“But 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.”
President Putin had been “very familiar” during the “most extraordinary call,” Johnson said.
No one knows if Putin’s threat was genuine. 4
Boris Johnson received a call from President Putin the day after he met Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv. Nine days later, on 11 February, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace flew to Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu.
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