Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson tells in a documentary by BBC that Russian President Vladimir Putin “somewhat threatened” him before the invasion of Ukraine by telling him “a missile would take a minute”.
In the three-part documentary, which will have its first episode shown on Monday night (30) at BBC Twothe former British head of government recounts the “very long” and “extraordinary” telephone conversation with the Russian president after his visit to Kiev in early February last year.
At the time, Putin continued to say that he had no intention of invading neighboring Ukraine, despite the massive influx of Russian troops into the border regions. Johnson claims to have warned the Russian president about the strong sanctions that the West would adopt if he did so.
Then, the former British prime minister claimed that Putin told him: “Boris, you say Ukraine is not going to join NATO anytime soon. […] What do you mean by ‘so soon’?”
“Who is not going to join NATO in the near future, you know that very well,” replied Johnson, who has supported the Ukrainians since the beginning of the conflict. “At one point, he sort of threatened me and said, ‘Boris, I don’t mean to hurt you, but with a missile, it would take a minute’ or something like that,” Johnson added.
“I think that taking into account the relaxed tone that reigned, the distance he seemed to have, he did not take into account my attempts to get him to negotiate”, adds the former prime minister, who left Downing Street in early September after a series of scandals.
In the documentary, the Ukrainian president, Volodmir Zelensky, says he was uncomfortable with the attitude of Westerners at the time.
“If you know that tomorrow Russia is going to invade Ukraine, why don’t you offer me today what I need to stop it? If you can’t, stop it yourself,” he said.
London tests ‘pee dye’ to discourage men from urinating in the street