Putin made threat in pre-war call – Boris Johnson
Former prime minister Boris Johnson 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 says Putin told him it “would only take a minute” – a comment Boris Johnson said came after he warned the war would be an “utter catastrophe” during a “very long” phone call in February 2022.
Details of the phone call are revealed in an upcoming BBC documentary, examining Mr Putin’s interactions with world leaders.
Mr Johnson warned Mr Putin that invading Ukraine would lead to Western sanctions and more Nato troops on Russia’s borders.
He tried to deter the invasion by telling Mr Putin that Ukraine would not be joining Nato “for the foreseeable future.”
But Mr Johnson said: “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”, Mr Johnson said.
It’s not known how serious the threat was, but considering Russia has attacked the UK before (Salisbury in 2018) it was likely taken seriously by the government.
Putin vs the West will be broadcast on Monday 30 January on BBC Two at 21:00 and will be available on the iPlayer in the UK.