Report: Putin Threatened Johnson with Missile

Posted 55 days ago


The Kremlin 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.

Johnson, speaking to the BBC for a documentary, said the Russian leader had warned he could launch a missile on Downing St. to kill him 'in 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 bit 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 he had 'a very long, most extraordinary call' with Putin upon his return to Britain, at a time when the Russian president was publicly denying that he planned to invade Ukraine, despite having massed tens of thousands of troops on its borders in Russia and Belarus.

The former prime minister said he told the Russian despot that war would be an 'utter catastrophe' and trigger unprecedented Western sanctions.

He downplayed the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, given the opposition from members such as France and Germany, but warned that war could galvanise support behind Kyiv and would result in 'more NATO, not less NATO' on Russia's borders.

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.

Johnson played a leading role in drumming up Western support for Ukraine last year.

Peskov meanwhile strongly rejected Johnson's claims, arguing that it was either a conscious ploy, or a simple mistake committed due to miscommunication.

'What Mr. Johnson said is not true, more precisely, it is a lie. And moreover, I will say that this is either a conscious lie - in which case the question is, why did he choose to present it this way? Or was it an unconscious lie, and, in fact, he did not understand what President Putin was talking to him about?' Peskov reasoned.

'I know what was discussed during this conversation, and once again I officially repeat: this is a lie. There were no threats of missile strikes,' he added.

'Speaking about the challenges for Russia's security, President Putin noted that if Ukraine joins NATO, the potential deployment of American missiles at our borders will mean that any missile will reach Moscow in a matter of minutes.'

Johnson has continued to be a thorn in Putin's side since leaving office, conducting a series of high-profile interventions designed to prevent Western leaders from backsliding.

Last week he visited Zelensky in Ukraine again to help bolster support for the president's demand for more Western tanks.

In a rallying cry in the Daily Mail, Johnson wrote: 'What conceivable grounds can there be for delay? Why are we not giving the Ukrainians all the help they need, now, when they need it?'

The former PM also dismissed Putin's threats to deploy his nuclear arsenal if the West steps up support for Kyiv, saying he would 'become a global pariah and plunge Russia into such a state of cryogenic economic exclusion as to make the current sanctions look moderate'.... (Read more)