Former British Prime Minister Johnson said that Russian President Putin once threatened to launch a missile attack on him, just before launching a military operation in Ukraine.
BBC will broadcast documentary on January 30 Putin confronts the West with an interview with former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In excerpts released to promote the programme, Mr Johnson said Russian President Vladimir Putin made the threat when the two leaders spoke by phone before February 24, 2022, when Russia sent troops into Ukraine.
“At one point he seemed to threaten me. He said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile it’ll only take a minute’, or something like that,” the former prime minister said. British general said.
Mr. Johnson said the Russian leader’s tone was “very relaxed. “He seemed a bit indifferent when he said this. He is just pretending to accept my attempts to persuade him to negotiate,” the former British prime minister added.
Mr Johnson is one of the Western leaders’ strongest supporters of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
However, the former prime minister said that before the hostilities broke out, he made every effort to tell Putin that it was not likely that Ukraine was about to join NATO, and warned the Kremlin chief that any attack on Ukraine could not be done. Any move by Moscow has led NATO to increase its presence on Russia’s borders instead of less.
“He said, ‘Boris, you say Ukraine won’t join NATO any time soon. So what’s your definition of early?’ And I said, ‘Oh they won’t join NATO in the near future, you know. That’s clear,'” former Prime Minister Johnson said.
The BBC documentary depicts the growing divide between Russian and Western leaders in the years leading up to the war in Ukraine. The film also features Mr Zelensky talking about how his ambitions to join NATO were thwarted by a Russian attack.
“If you know that tomorrow Russia is going to take Ukraine, why not give me something today that I can stop?”, the Ukrainian president said. “Or if you can’t give it to me, then stop it yourself.”
Huyen Le (Theo AFP)