The anniversary of the outbreak of the war in Ukraine is approaching. A BBC documentary titled “Putin vs the West” (Putin vs the West) revealed many previously little-known details of the final phone call between Russian and Western leaders on the eve of the war – including Putin’s speech to former British Prime Minister Johnson. missile strike threat.
According to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Russian President Vladimir Putin made the missile strike threat during a telephone conversation before the invasion of Ukraine. According to the former British prime minister, Putin told him at the time that (the missile launch) “would only take a minute”.
Johnson recalled in the documentary that the date of the long call was February 2, 2022; he warned Putin that a war would cause an “absolute disaster”, and Putin fired missiles after hearing the warning. threaten.
Telephone conversations between British and Russian leaders before the war
It is reported that the former Prime Minister John also warned Putin at the time that if Russia invaded Ukraine, it would lead to severe Western sanctions and more NATO troops close to the Russian border.
In that call, Johnson also tried to persuade Putin not to use force, saying that Ukraine “will not join NATO in the foreseeable future”.
“He threatened me at one point and said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, it takes a minute to fire a missile. Or something like that, it’s amazing,'” Johnson said.
“However, the tone of his conversation at the time was relatively relaxed, as if nothing happened. I think this is a bargaining tactic when he is trying to negotiate.”
Johnson said that during the highly unusual call, Putin behaved like the usual Russian president he has become familiar with.
This BBC documentary interviewed a number of leaders of Western countries. From the first-hand memories of these parties, it told the story of Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014 and its invasion of Ukraine.
People have no way of knowing whether Putin’s missile threat was true or not.
However, with Russian agents already carrying out attacks on British soil on several occasions – most recently at Salisbury in 2018 – Johnson may have little choice but to take the threats seriously, however lighthearted the leaders of both countries are.
“Lies” on the eve of the war
Just nine days after the phone call between former Prime Minister Johnson and Putin, on February 11, 2022, then British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace made a special trip to Moscow to meet with Russian Defense Minister Shoigu and senior military officials.
According to the BBC documentary titled “Putin Vs the West”, when Wallace left Moscow, the Russian side promised in person that it would not invade Ukraine. However, Wallace said both parties knew that was a lie.
Wallace described Russia’s performance as a “show of bullying and strength, which is to say: I lied to you, and you know I lied, and I know you know I lied, and I continue to lie.”
“I feel like they’re telling each other — I’m strong,” Wallace said.
According to Wallace, it was precisely because of Russia’s very “cold and direct lies” that he was fundamentally convinced that Russia would definitely send troops to invade Ukraine.
He also recalled that when he was leaving the meeting, General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of Staff of the Russian Army, added a sentence-“We will never be humiliated again.”
Less than two weeks after that meeting, on February 24, Russian armored forces crossed the border into Ukraine. Former Prime Minister Johnson received an urgent phone call from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the early hours of the morning.
“Zelensky was very, very calm,” Johnson recalled. “But he told me, you know, they’re attacking from all sides.”
It is reported that Johnson immediately expressed his willingness to help Zelensky move to a safe area.
However, Zelensky rebuffed the offer, insisting “heroically” to stay, Johnson recalled.