Boris Johnson’s Claim On Putin’s Missile Attack Is “A Lie,” Says Kremlin
According to the Kremlin, Boris Johnson’s claims regarding the alleged missile attack by Putin were “a lie.”
When Boris Johnson said that Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to threaten him with a missile strike, the Kremlin claimed that Johnson had “lied” about it.
The statement was made by the former member of Downing Street in a new BBC three-part documentary that examined how the West dealt with Mr. Putin in the years before the crisis in Ukraine.
Speaking of a phone chat between the two leaders before Moscow invaded Ukraine, Mr. Johnson said: “He sort of threatened me at one point and said: Boris, I don’t want to injure you, but with a missile, it would just take a minute” or something like.
The Kremlin, however, refuted the assertion, stating that “no missile threats” were made during the bilateral conversation in February 2022.
When asked about Mr. Johnson’s remarks on Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responded that the British politician’s story was inaccurate, “or, more exactly, it was a lie.”
According to Mr. Peskov, the former leader of the Conservative Party may have lied on purpose or failed to comprehend what the Russian leader was saying to him.
During a conference call with reporters, Mr. Peskov stated, “There were no missile threats. While talking about security challenges to Russia, President Putin said that if Ukraine joins Nato, the potential deployment of US or other Nato missiles near our borders would mean that any such missile could reach Moscow in minutes.”
Mr. Johnson told the documentary producers that the “extraordinary” conversation took place last February after he had visited Kyiv in a last-ditch attempt to show Western support for Ukraine amid growing fears of a Russian assault.
War would break out only days later, with Russia launching its attack on Kyiv on February 24th.
Mr. Johnson said Mr. Putin had a “very relaxed tone” and an “air of detachment” as he spoke.
“He was just playing along with my attempts to get him to negotiate,” Mr. Johnson said.
The former prime minister went to Kyiv in early February to warn Russia that an invasion would be disastrous. He left Downing Street in September after being removed from office due to several scandals.
He has maintained contact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy since leaving No. 10, and he recently paid another visit to Kyiv. In his contribution to the documentary, Mr. Johnson recalled having told Mr. Putin that if he authorized an invasion of Ukraine, stiffer Western sanctions would follow.
He also said he told the Russian leader that the escalation would only see Western states increase support for Ukraine, meaning “more Nato, not less Nato” on Russia’s borders.
“He said: ‘Boris, you say that Ukraine is not going to join Nato any time soon. […] What is any time soon?’ And I said: ‘Well it’s not going to join Nato for the foreseeable future. You know that perfectly well,’” Mr. Johnson said of the call with Mr. Putin.
Mr. Johnson claims that Mr. Putin brought up the missile attack following those comments.