Putin threatened the United Kingdom: "Boris, I don't want to hurt you, but a minute is enough with a missile"The account of the former British prime minister to the BBC, the Kremlin denies: "A lie"
Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened a missile attack on the UK during an "extraordinary" phone call with then Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
It happened shortly before the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and BoJo himself reported it in an interview with the BBC for a documentary entitled "Putin against the West".
"Putin told me it would take a minute," said the former British prime minister.
Given previous Russian attacks on the UK – most recently in Salisbury in 2018 – any threat from the Russian leader had to be taken seriously. Before the threat, Johnson had warned Putin in early February in a "very long" telephone call that the war would be a "total catastrophe", which would lead to Western sanctions and an increase in NATO troops on Russian borders . He also tried to dissuade him by telling him that Ukraine would not join NATO "in the foreseeable future".
«At one point – Johnson's words – Putin threatened me, saying: ' Boris, I don't want to hurt you but, with a missile, it would only take a minute '. I think from the very relaxed tone he sounded, the sort of detached air he seemed to have, he was just toying with my attempts to get him to negotiate.'
Nine days after the phone call, on February 11, British Defense Minister Ben Wallace met his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, in Moscow. The documentary reveals that Wallace left for London with an assurance that Russia would not invade Ukraine, but said both sides knew it was a lie .
The Kremlin's denial was not long in coming: spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Johnson's statement a "lie" .
The ex-premier's " might be a deliberate lie, and therefore the question arises as to the reasons for presenting such a version of events ," Peskov said. Or, he added, the then British prime minister "didn't understand what Putin was talking about, and so I feel a little uneasy about our president's interlocutors".
“There hasn't been any threat of use of missiles,” Peskov continued. Speaking of threats to Russia's security , President Putin had highlighted that in the event of Ukraine joining NATO, a potential deployment of Alliance or US missiles near our borders would mean that any missile could reach Moscow in a few minutes . If this passage was perceived in this way (by Johnson), then it is a very embarrassing situation ».