Vladimir Putin threatened to kill Boris Johnson with a rocket

Boris Johnson Vladimir Putin

Boris Johnson says the threat was made as he tried to persuade Vladimir Putin not to invade Ukraine (Image: AP/Reuters)

Boris Johnson has claimed Vladimir Putin threatened to kill him, saying: ‘I don’t want to hurt you but with a missile it would only take a minute.’

The former prime minister revealed the menacing remark was made in a phone call in February 2022, days before Russian troops invaded Ukraine.

The “extraordinary” talk followed a visit by then-British leader Mr Johnson to Kyiv in a last-ditch effort to show the Kremlin that the West is behind Ukraine amid war fears.

Mr Johnson spoke in a new three-part BBC series about how the West grappled with the Russian dictator in the years before the conflict escalated.

He warned Putin of an invasion that would prove disastrous and said he had warned that harsh Western sanctions loomed if it took place – alongside “more nato, not less nato” on his country’s borders.

The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip said of the call: “He [Putin] said: “Boris, you say that Ukraine will not join NATO any time soon. […] What’s in the foreseeable future?”

“And I said, ‘Well, it’s not going to join NATO any time soon. You know that very well.”

“He threatened me at one point and said: ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a rocket it would only take a minute’ or something like that.

Local woman with children walks next to an apartment building damaged by a Russian military strike amid Russian attack on Ukraine, in the town of Hlevakha, outside Kyiv, Ukraine January 26, 2023. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

A woman with children walks next to an apartment building damaged by a Russian military strike in the town of Hlevakha outside Kyiv (Image: Reuters)

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“I think because of the very relaxed tone he was using, the kind of distance he seemed to have, he was just toying with my attempts to get him to negotiate.”

Mr Johnson has remained a strong supporter of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government since he was forced out of government and arrived on an “unofficial visit” this month.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace also spoke to the BBC program and revealed he knew Russia was going to invade Ukraine when officials “directly lied” to him at a “terrifying moment”.

Speaking about a trip to Moscow in February, he said he held talks with Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov.

“And I remember saying to Minister Shoigu, ‘They will fight,’ and he said, ‘My mother is Ukrainian, they won’t!’ He also said he had no intention of intruding,” Mr Wallace said.

In this photo provided by the Press Office of the President of Ukraine, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pictured before his meeting with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday January 22, 2023. (Press Office of the Ukrainian Presidents via AP)

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday January 22, 2023 (Image: AP)

“That would be ‘Vran’e’ in the Russian language. “Vran’e” is a sort of bullying or strength show, I think: I’m going to lie to you. you know i lie I know you know I’m lying and I still will lie to you.

“He knew I knew and I knew he knew. But I think it was about saying: I am powerful.

“It was the rather frightening but outright lie about what they wouldn’t do that I think validated that they would.”

“I remember General Gerasimov saying as we walked out: ‘Never again will we be humiliated. We used to be the fourth army in the world, now we are number two. Now it’s America and us.”

“And there was this sense of possible why in that minute [they were doing this].’

The program also hears from Mr. Zelensky about his efforts to join NATO so the alliance would help defend Ukraine against Russia and other adversaries.

He has repeatedly tried to win over NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, but the move would risk a major war and Ukraine is far from meeting the accession criteria.

Mr. Zelensky says: “I said to him: “Jens, I want to join NATO, do you see us in NATO?” Because nothing would defend our country except actual membership.

“I said, ‘It’s just unfair and it’s not pretty. They don’t see us as equals.”

Putin vs The West airs Monday night on BBC Two.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, Visit our news page.

https://metro.co.uk/2023/01/30/vladimir-putin-threatened-to-kill-boris-johnson-with-a-missile-18184157/ Vladimir Putin threatened to kill Boris Johnson with a rocket

Justin Scacco

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