Boris Johnson dismisses Putin’s nuclear warning as a ‘distraction’

The PM said the Russian leader is trying to divert attention from the fierce resistance his forces are facing in Ukraine.

27 February 2022

Boris Johnson has dismissed Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he is putting Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent on high alert as a “distraction” from struggle his troops are facing in Ukraine

The Russian leader said on Sunday that he was putting Moscow’s nuclear forces on a “special regime of combat duty” in response to “aggressive statements” coming from Western powers.

But in a pooled clip for broadcasters, the Prime Minister suggested his actions were more to do with the fact that his forces were meeting with “more resistance than the Kremlin had bargained for”.

Mr Johnson also cast doubt on possible negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian delegations to try to resolve the crisis.

Russia president Vladimir Putin (Adam Davy/PA)
Russia president Vladimir Putin (Adam Davy/PA)

President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed the two sides could meet on the Ukraine-Belarus border having initially rejected an offer of talks in Belarus.

However Mr Johnson said he had seen nothing to suggest that Mr Putin was genuine in his offer.

“There’s nothing I’ve seen so far in his behaviour that leads me to think that he could possibly be sincere,” he said.

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