Boris Johnson, the former prime minister of the U.K., said Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile strike in a call just before the invasion of Ukraine.
What Happened: Johnson, in a three-part documentary for BBC Two — “Putin vs. the West” — that looks at the conflict in Ukraine, said the Russian leader threatened him with a missile strike in an “extraordinary” phone call.
“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," Johnson was quoted saying, according to the BBC.
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“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.”
The former British prime minister added that he did not treat Putin’s comments as a threat and instead supported Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
During the phone call, Johnson had warned Putin that the West would place tougher sanctions if Moscow invaded and that support for Nato would increase, even if Kyiv was not close to becoming a member.
Johnson also tried to deter Putin by saying that Ukraine would not join NATO “for the foreseeable future," but the Russian president didn't seem convinced and said, “Boris, you say that Ukraine is not going to join NATO anytime soon … What is anytime soon?”
The documentary is scheduled to be broadcast on Monday and reveals the details of the long phone conversation that took place between Putin and Johnson.
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