Boris Johnson recounts how Vladimir Putin ‘threatened’ him before hostilities began

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in kyiv, Sunday January 22, 2023

Boris Johnson reveals in a BBC documentary aired on Monday January 30 how Vladimir Putin got him “somewhat threatened” before the invasion of Ukraine. The former British prime minister returns in this three-part film to his telephone conversation with the Russian president in February 2022, when he returned from a surprise visit to kyiv.

At that time, Mr. Putin continued to maintain that he had no intention of invading his neighbor, despite the massive influx of Russian soldiers into the border regions. Mr. Johnson explains that he warned him of the harsh sanctions that Westerners would take if he went down this path.

“He said to me: Boris, you say that Ukraine is not going to join NATO anytime soon. What do you mean by: not soon? »says the former head of the British government. “Well she’s not going to join NATO in the near future, you know that perfectly well”continues the former British leader, early support of the Ukrainians.

Read also: War in Ukraine: “The support of Boris Johnson and his government in kyiv is sincere and unambiguous”

“A missile would take a minute”

“At one point he kind of threatened me and said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile it would take a minute'”continues Mr. Johnson.

“I think that from the very relaxed tone he took, the detachment he seemed to have, he was playing with my attempts to get him to negotiate”he adds.

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Read also: War in Ukraine: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson banned from entering Russia

Sunday, January 22, more than four months after leaving Downing Street, the former British Prime Minister had reappeared, to everyone’s surprise, in Ukrainian lands. After visiting the towns of Borodianka and Boutcha, heavily affected by the fighting, he had taken the direction of kyiv where Volodymyr Zelensky was waiting for him.

Read also: Boris Johnson in kyiv, maybe that’s a detail for you…

In the documentary, the Ukrainian president describes how he came to rage against the attitude of Westerners at the time: “If you know that tomorrow Russia is going to invade Ukraine, why don’t you give me something to stop it today? If you can’t, then stop it yourself. »

The World with AFP

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