Boris Johnson, the former prime minister of UK, revealed that Russian president Vladimir Putin threatened to kill him in a missile attack in an extraordinary phone call. He said this took place in early February 2022 after he had visited Kyiv in a last-ditch attempt to show Western support for Ukraine.
"He (Putin) sort of threatened me at one point and 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 this in a new three-part series Putin vs. the West for BBC Two. He added the comment was made after he warned the war would be an utter catastrophe.
Jonson warned the Russian president that invading Ukraine would lead to Western sanctions and more Nato troops for the foreseeable future.
However Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said the former PM's claim was either a deliberate falsehood, or it was not a deliberate lie. He added that may be Johnson didn't understand what President Putin was saying to him. Peskov told the BBC that there were no threats to use missiles.
He justified that the Putin had simply pointed out that "if Ukraine joined NATO the potential deployment of NATO or US missiles near Russia's border would mean that any missile could reach Moscow within minutes." The Kremlin, since the invasion, has warned that countries that try to interfere in the conflict will face consequences. Russia and its state media have time and again hinted at using nuclear weapons.
Johnson said Putin threatened in a very relaxed manner. "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."
Demonstration of Bullying or Strength
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who also features on Putin vs The West, said it was a Russian demonstration of bullying or strength. "I going to lie to you. You know I'm lying. I know you know I'm lying and I'm still going to lie to you. He knew I knew and I knew he knew. But I think it was about saying 'I'm powerful'."
He recounted what General Gerasimov said "Never again will we be humiliated. We used to be the fourth army in the world, we're now number two. It's now America and us."