Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims that Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile strike before the invasion of Ukraine.
According to a new BBC documentary that is to be broadcast on Monday, former UK PM Boris Johnson said that Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile strike.
This conversation between the two leaders occurred on an “extraordinary” phone call in the run up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Johnson quoted Putin saying “He sort of threatened me at one point and said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile, it would only take a minute’, or something like that.”
However, a Kremlin spokesperson said it was a “lie”.
This claim is made in the upcoming BBC documentary about Putin’s interactions with world leaders over the past years.
“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,” he added.
Prior to the invasion, Johnson was convincing Putin that there is no imminent prospect of Ukraine joining NATO. Instead, an invasion would lead to “more NATO, not less NATO,” according to Johnson.
“He said, ‘Boris, you say that Ukraine is not going to join NATO any time soon.
“‘What is any time soon?’ And I said, ‘well it’s not going to join NATO for the foreseeable future. You know that perfectly well’.”
Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson said that the claim made by the former prime minister was either a “deliberate falsehood” or a “deliberate lie”.
Dmitry Peskov told the BBC, “There were no threats to use missiles.”
According to the spokesperson, the Russian leader simply pointed out that if Ukraine joined NATO it would lead to a potential deployment of US or NATO missiles near Russia’s border and would mean that any missile would reach Moscow in minutes.
President Putin ever since the invasion has warned countries that any interference would cause an immediate Russian response. Also hinting at the use of nuclear weapons.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace flew to Moscow nine days after the conversation with President Putin to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.
It is reported that Wallace left with the assurance that the invasion won’t take place but he said both knew it was a lie.
The upcoming BBC Documentary ‘Putin Vs the West’ will be broadcast on Monday 30 January.