THE Kremlin branded Boris Johnson a “liar” today after his shock revelation Vladimir Putin threatened to kill him with a missile.
Boris said Mad Vlad warned it would “only take a minute” for a rocket to take him out in a menacing phone call last February.
6Boris Johnson says Vladimir Putin threatened to kill him with a missileCredit: East2West6Kremlin mouthpiece Dmitry Peskov hit back calling Boris a ‘liar’Credit: East2WestThe ex-PM tells a BBC documentary the call came after he visited Kyiv to show support amid fears of a Russian invasion.
He recalls: “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.”
Today Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov hit back: “It’s not true what Mr Johnson said.
“To be more exact, it is a lie.
“Moreover, this is either a deliberate lie, and then we need to ask Mr Johnson what purpose he followed by choosing to tell the story in this way.
“Or else it was an unconscious lie, and, in fact, he didn’t understand what President Putin was talking to him about.
“In this case one feels a little uncomfortable for people our president talks to.”
Peskov added: “I am aware of the content of that chat.
“And one more time I officially repeat – this is a lie.
“There was no threat of missiles.”
He claimed Putin had raised the potential deployment of Nato missiles near the Russian border, which would mean they could reach Moscow in minutes.
“If this passage was interpreted in that manner, then this is a very awkward situation indeed,” Peskov said.
Mr Johnson describes the menacing phone call in three-part series Putin vs the West on BBC2 and BBC iPlayer from 9pm tonight.
He says he tried to use his Kyiv trip to warn the Kremlin an assault would be disastrous.
Paranoid Putin feared Nato encroachment on his borders.
Moscow was told there would be tough sanctions if Putin invaded and “more Nato, not less” in the region — which triggered Mad Vlad’s threat.
Boris recalls: “I got Putin on the blower again. He said, ‘Boris, you say that Ukraine is not going to join Nato any time soon. What is ‘any time soon’?.
“And I said, ‘Well, it’s not going to join Nato for the foreseeable future. You know that perfectly well.
“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.
“I think from the very relaxed tone that he was taking, the sort of air of detachment that he seemed to have, he was just playing along with my attempts to get him to negotiate.
“And this is a very long call and a most extraordinary call. He was being very, very familiar.
“I said to him, ‘Look, if you do this, it will be an utter catastrophe. It will mean a massive package of Western sanctions. It will mean we continue to intensify our support for Ukraine’.”
General Sir Richard Barrons, former commander of Joint Forces Command, said Putin’s threats were hollow because he did not have enough missiles to spare.
He said: “More likely than not Mr Putin was indulging in a degree of malevolent levity.
“He will need all the missiles he can get to delay Ukraine throwing Russia out of its country.”
And last night ex-Armed Forces minister Mark Francois said: “The very idea that the Russian President could have personally threatened the life of a British Prime Minister is extraordinary.”
Mr Francois said Putin’s aggression clearly backfired, “as Boris rapidly rallied the Europeans against the Russian invasion and has been one of Zelensky’s staunchest supporters ever since”.
Ex-Army officer Col Richard Kemp said: “Putin has always tried to intimidate foreign leaders or put them on the spot by making personal remarks and saying things they wouldn’t expect in normal international diplomacy, whether face to face or by phone.
“It is his way of testing them, throwing them off balance and gaining the upper hand.”
Former defence minister John Spellar said: “This shows the true nature of Putin’s barbaric regime. It shows we must be continually vigilant over the Russian state.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace tells the documentary he was dispatched to Moscow following the threat to Boris for a last-ditch attempt to avoid war.
Before the meeting, the translator was forbidden from helping the UK delegation due to a positive Covid test — despite receiving a negative reading on the plane.
Mr Wallace says the Russians kept saying the Ukrainians “won’t fight” but instead “will welcome them” into the country.
He says: “I remember saying to Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu ‘they will fight’ and he said, ‘My mother is Ukrainian, they won’t!’
“He also said he had no intention of invading. That would be ‘Vran’e’ in the Russian language.
“Vran’e I think is sort of a demonstration of bullying or strength: I’m going to lie to you. You know I’m lying. I know you know I’m lying and I’m still going to lie to you.
“He knew I knew and I knew he knew.
“But I think it was about saying: I’m powerful. It was the fairly chilling but direct lie of what they were not going to do that I think, to me, confirmed they were going to do it.”
Within three weeks, on February 24, Putin gave the go-ahead for his invasion.
The UK committed £2.3billion to Ukraine last year, and aims to match that over the next year.
Ministers have also provided anti-tank missiles and air defence systems and three M270 long-range multiple launch rocket systems.
Mr Johnson was ousted from No 10 in September.
Current PM Rishi Sunak has agreed to send a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine to help thwart an expected spring offensive by Russia.
The US and Germany recently pledged M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 tanks in a major step-up of Western support to combat Vlad’s forces.
6Vladimir Putin threatened he could kill me with a missile attack, reveals Boris JohnsonCredit: Getty6Mad Vlad’s menacing threat came a day after Boris visited Kyiv just before the invasionCredit: AP6Mr Johnson tried to use his trip to warn Putin an assault on Ukraine would be disastrousCredit: Alamy6Ben Wallace tells the documentary he was dispatched to Moscow following the threat to Boris for a last-ditch attempt to avoid warCredit: Getty
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk