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Russia Denies Vladimir Putin Threatened Boris Johnson With A Missile Attack

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 1/30/2023 Kate Nicholson
Boris Johnson claimed that Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile attack © Provided by HuffPost UK Boris Johnson claimed that Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile attack

The Kremlin has rejected Boris Johnson’s recent claim that Vladimir Putin threatened the UK with a missile attack last year.

The former prime minister told a new BBC Two documentary that the Russian president issued a warning to Johnson after he had visited Kyiv, and shortly before Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

Putin allegedly told the ex-PM: “I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile, it would only take a minute.”

Johnson added: “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 Russian president was “very familiar” with him during the “most extraordinary” call, according to the ex-PM.

However, the Kremlin has since disputed this allegation, according to Sky News and the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “No, what Mr Johnson said is not true, more precisely, it is a lie.

“It is either a deliberate lie - so you have to ask Mr Johnson why he chose to put it that way - or it was an unconscious lie and he did not in fact understand what Putin was talking to him about.”

Peskov did confirm that the two premiers spoke on the phone before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, around February 2 2022, but made it clear: “There were no threats of missile strikes.”

The press secretary said that the pair spoke about how, if Ukraine were to join Nato, US or Nato missiles would be able to reach Moscow in a “matter of minutes” from the Russian-Ukrainian border.

“If that’s how this passage was understood, then it’s a very awkward situation,” Peskov said.

Johnson, despite leaving No.10 in September, has kept up his staunch defence of Ukraine in recent months.

He made an unexpected trip to Ukraine earlier in January while there was furore over his finances, and claims that he helped the BBC chairman Richard Sharp secure his top job after Sharp helped him find a guarantor for an £800,000 loan.

Johnson said at the time it was a “privilege” to be invited to the country by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, although critics dubbed it a means to distract from the scrutiny around his personal accounts.

Zelenskyy told Sky News last week that it would be a “pleasure” if Johnson decided to become an ambassador to Ukraine, because he is a “good guy”.

But he added: “I’m not sure he is ready for such a status, but who knows?”

Zelenskyy did stop short of saying whether Johnson should return to No.10 though, saying: “It is not correct for me to support Johnson to be the prime minister when Rishi is prime minister. It’s not correct, I’m sorry. We have good relations with Sunak.

“I think we had more long relations with Johnson because it was a long time and of course they were difficult times in the first days of the full-scale invasion.

“I saw Johnson in different situations. I saw him not in war and then in full-scale war. That’s why we have special relations.”


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