(CNN Spanish) – Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the BBC that Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile in a phone call before Russia invaded Ukraine.
The BBC reported that the then prime minister warned Putin that an invasion of Ukraine would lead to Western sanctions and more NATO forces on Russia’s borders during a phone call in February 2022.
“[Putin] He said: “Boris, you say that Ukraine will not join NATO in the near future.” He said it in English. And I said: Well, you are not going to join NATO in the near future. Johnson said of the call, “You know that.
“One time he threatened me and said, ‘You know, Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile that’ll only take a minute. Or something. You know…’,” said the Prime Minister.
The former prime minister added, “I think because of the calm tone he adopted, the kind of detached air he seemed to have, he was just playing with my attempts to get him to negotiate.”
The exchange was released ahead of the BBC’s “Putin vs. the West” documentary, which examines Putin’s interactions with world leaders and is due to premiere on Monday.
Russia denies this
The Kremlin confirmed on Monday that Boris Johnson’s statement was a “lie”.
“What Johnson said is not true. More precisely, he lied,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
Peskov said he was aware of what was discussed during that conversation, but stressed that “there were no missile threats.”
According to Peskov, “Speaking about the security challenges facing the Russian Federation, Putin indicated that if Ukraine joins NATO, the possibility of deploying American or NATO missiles near our borders means that any missile will reach Moscow within minutes.”
“If this passage is understood in this way, it is a very uncomfortable situation.”
Johnson told the BBC early on Monday that Putin had threatened him with a missile that “would only take a minute”. The exchange was released ahead of the documentary “Putin vs. the West,” set to premiere Monday, which examines Putin’s interactions with world leaders.
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