Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to hit Britain with a missile. Johnson spilt the beans in a three-part BBC documentary, titled ‘Putin vs the West’.
Putin, according to Johnson, said that he could send a missile to Britain ‘within a minute’.
The conversation between the two leaders took place in a phone call before the Russia-Ukraine war. “He sort of threatened me at one point and said, 'Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile, it would only take a minute', or something like that,'" said Putin, according to Johnson. The former UK PM, however, added that he did not treat the phone call as a threat and continued to support UK President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
According to Johnson, Putin’s “relaxed tone” and “air of detachment” seemed to suggest that he was just playing along with Boris Johnson’s attempt to get the Russian leader to negotiate.
Johnson warned Putin that there would be tougher western sanctions if Russia invaded Ukraine, and NATO would get all the more support.
Putin, according to Johnson, asked him, “Boris, you say that Ukraine is not going to join NATO anytime soon. What is anytime soon?” To this, Johnson said, “Well it’s not going to join NATO for the foreseeable future. You know that perfectly well,” in the phone call.
In February 2022, Putin officially recognised the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine and announced a “special military operation” in the country, marking the beginning of a full-scale war that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, a major refugee crisis and escalated geopolitical tensions.