Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed in a recent documentary that Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to kill him with a missile strike just days before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Johnson made the claim Monday during the release of the BBC documentary “Putin vs the West,” saying Putin “threatened me at one point, and he said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you but, with a missile, it would only take a minute’ or something like that. Jolly,” according to the documentary. Johnson claimed that the threat was made during a phone call with Putin, further saying that Putin was just “playing along” with him in negotiations over Russian aggression. (RELATED: Putin Threatens Nuclear War, Calls Up Thousands Of Reserve Troops)
Johnson’s claim was denied by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov who called it a “lie,” saying, “There were no threats with missiles. While talking about security challenges to Russia, President Putin said that if Ukraine joins NATO the potential deployment of U.S. or other NATO missiles near our borders would mean that any such missile could reach Moscow in minutes,” according to The Associated Press.
“Boris, I don’t want to hurt you but with a missile it would only take a minute” – @BorisJohnson told @BBCNews about his talks with Putin before the full-scale invasion began.
He added that Putin seemed relaxed and detached. pic.twitter.com/zLQ1pPG5uJ
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) January 30, 2023
The documentary is a three-part series produced by documentary-maker Norma Percy, according to the AP. The documentary discussed how Western leaders dealt with Putin leading up to the Feb. 24, 2022, invasion.
“It was a reminder that he could do it, and [Johnson] should remember that when he is dealing with him,” Percy told the AP Monday about the former prime minister’s comments.
Johnson further discussed the phone call, saying, “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,” according to the documentary. The two leaders also discussed Ukraine joining NATO, with Johnson saying it would not happen “for the foreseeable future.”
Following the phone call between Johnson and Putin, Russian forces invaded Ukraine to “demilitarize and de-Nazify” the country.
Johnson stepped down from his role as prime minister in July amidst a litany of ministerial scandals.
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