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Monday, July 15, 2024

Putin threatened missile strike on U.K. before Ukraine war, Boris Johnson says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed a chilling encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who allegedly threatened to launch a missile strike against Britain during the tense buildup to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview with the BBC, Johnson recounted Putin’s ominous message: “Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile it would only take a minute.” The exchange occurred amid discussions about Ukraine’s potential NATO membership, with Putin expressing concerns about NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe and Ukraine’s alignment with the alliance.
Johnson described Putin’s demeanor during the conversation as “very relaxed,” despite the gravity of the situation. The former British prime minister, who served from July 2019 to September last year, emphasized the urgent need to address Russia’s aggressive stance.
Putin’s alleged threat occurred before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year, marking Europe’s largest military conflict since World War II. Despite diplomatic efforts to dissuade Moscow, Russian forces launched the invasion, prompting global condemnation and widespread concern.
The Kremlin swiftly denied Johnson’s account of the conversation, labeling it as untrue. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, dismissed Johnson’s claims as a lie, emphasizing the absence of such statements in official phone call records between the two leaders.
While Johnson’s disclosure did not feature in official phone call summaries, it underscores the escalating tensions preceding the conflict. The current British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office did not immediately respond to inquiries about Johnson’s revelations.
Throughout the ongoing conflict, Putin has occasionally alluded to the possibility of nuclear war in Europe, prompting concerns about the region’s security. However, President Biden has downplayed Putin’s nuclear rhetoric, emphasizing the need for diplomatic solutions to resolve the crisis.

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