Boris Johnson Claims Putin Threatened with Missile Strike in Run-Up to War in Ukraine

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile strike during a phone call in the run-up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.[0] In a BBC documentary, Johnson said Putin told him it “would only take a minute” for a Russian missile to strike him down in the UK.[1]

The Kremlin leader had allegedly pointed out that if Ukraine joined NATO, the potential deployment of U.S. or other NATO missiles near Russia's border would mean that any such missile could reach Moscow in minutes.[2] Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, however, accused Johnson of lying, telling reporters that what he said was not true, or “more precisely, a lie”.[3]

In September 2022, Johnson resigned amidst a number of controversies, attempting to make London the primary Western ally of Kyiv.[4] He downplayed the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, given the opposition from members such as France and Germany, but warned that war would galvanise support behind Kyiv and would result in ‘more NATO, not less NATO' on Russia's borders.[5]

Speaking to the Putin vs The West programme set to air on Monday evening, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace recounted his February journey to Moscow in search of a breakthrough to avert war. He encountered Sergei Shoigu, his Russian counterpart, and Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the general staff.[6]

Nine days after Johnson's conversation with President Putin, on 11 February, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace flew to Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu. When departing the gathering, Gen Valery Gerasimov – Russia's chief of general staff – declared to him, “We shall never be shamed again.”[7]

It is impossible to determine the legitimacy of the reported threats made by Putin to the former British leader.[8] Johnson, however, conjectured that the warning was not genuine.[9] No matter how lightly the Russian leader's threat was delivered, the BBC suggested that Johnson would have had no option but to take it seriously.[7]

Johnson has been a staunch supporter of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy since the war began in February 24th of last year.[5]

0. “FLASHPOINT UKRAINE: Did Putin Threaten Boris Johnson?” Voice of America – VOA News, 30 Jan. 2023,

1. “Russia accuses Boris of lying about Putin's threat to assassinate him” Metro, 30 Jan. 2023,

2. “‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you:’ Former British PM says Putin threatened him with missile” KRMG, 30 Jan. 2023,

3. “Boris Johnson says Putin threatened him with missile strike, Russia deni” The Jerusalem Post, 30 Jan. 2023,

4. “Former UK prime minister Boris Johnson says Russia's Putin threatened him with missile strike” CNA, 30 Jan. 2023,

5. “UK’s Boris Johnson says Putin threatened him with missile attack” Al Jazeera English, 30 Jan. 2023,

6. “Boris Johnson says Putin claimed he could send missile to hit UK ‘in a minute’” The Guardian, 29 Jan. 2023,

7. “Kremlin Denies Putin Threatened Ex-British PM Johnson With Missile Attack” The Moscow Times, 30 Jan. 2023,

8. “Ukraine: Boris Johnson says Putin threatened him with missile strike” BBC, 30 Jan. 2023,

9. “‘I don’t want to hurt you, but it would only take a minute’: Boris Johnson claims Putin issued sinister missile threat to U.K.” Yahoo Entertainment, 30 Jan. 2023,