Johnson vs Putin: In a shocking revelation, former United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had threatened to personally target him with a missile attack days before launching a full-scale war in Ukraine last year in February.
According to a new BBC documentary, the apparent threat was made through a phone call just ahead of the invasion on February 2022. Following this, Johnson and other Western leaders had rushed to Kyiv in an effort to show their support for Ukraine and thwart the Russian strike.
What Johnson claimed in documentary?
"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," Johnson quoted Putin as saying in the documentary which is set to be broadcast on Monday, January 30.
Following the outbreak of the war in Eastern Europe, Johnson had emerged as one of the most ardent Western supporters of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
However, Johnson also claimed that he took great care to inform Putin before the invasion that there was no immediate likelihood of Ukraine joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and that any invasion would result in "more NATO, not less NATO" on Russia's borders.
It should be noted here that the BBC documentary chronicles the widening gap between the Russian President and the West in the years leading up to the war in Ukraine. In addition, it also features Zelenskyy reflecting on his thwarted ambitions to join NATO prior to Russia's attack.
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It is significant to mention here that Russian President Putin ordered a special military operation on February 24 in Ukraine's Donbass region which swiftly extended across the country. The war between the two countries was declared after Russia recognised the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered its army to conduct a "peacekeeping operation" in the area.
As per reports, about 8 million Ukrainians were displaced within their country by late May, and more than 7.9 million fled the country by the first week of January 2023. Meanwhile, the invasion has also caused tens of thousands of deaths on both sides and Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II.
(With inputs from agencies)