The Russian government has accused former British prime minister Boris Johnson of lying when he said President Vladimir Putin had threatened him with a missile strike during a phone call in the run-up to the invasion of Ukraine.
This is coming after Johnson disclosed to the BBC for a documentary, that the Russian leader had threatened him with a missile strike that would ‘only take a minute’.
‘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 said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov today hit back, telling reporters that Johnson had fabricated the allegations.
‘What Mr. Johnson said is not true. More precisely it’s a lie… There were no missile threats,’ Peskov declared.
Johnson claims Putin’s astonishing threat was made in February last year after the former prime minister visited Kyiv to assure Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky that Britain would back his country if Russia were to invade.
Johnson said that on his return, he had ‘a very long, most extraordinary call’ with Putin. At the time, the Russian president was publicly denying that he planned to invade Ukraine, despite massing tens of thousands of troops on its borders.
The former prime minister said he told the Russian despot that war would be an ‘utter catastrophe’ and trigger unprecedented Western sanctions.
Mr. Johnson said: ‘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”.
‘He sort of threatened me at one point and said, ”Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile it would take only a minute”.
‘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.’
The revelation comes in a BBC documentary series called Putin v the West, which is due to be broadcast tonight.