What did Boris Johnson really say to Putin?

Against the backdrop of current world developments, the leading media, of course, paid some attention to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s telephone conversation  with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the significance of this conversation remained largely off-screen.



The fact that the conversation took place on the eve of the environmental summit (COP26), which opens on November 1, 2021 in the UK, does not really matter. The summit turned out to be just an excuse for this conversation to take place.

Russian Lenta.ru, for example, headlined the article “Boris Johnson suggests “feeding people to animals” to save the planet.” Not a bad way to distract the Russian public from the essence of the conversation.

But the Kremlin’s official website informed only about the discussion of climate issues, modestly mentioning “some topical issues on the international agenda.” Moreover, as far as Ukraine is concerned, Putin allegedly “detailed Russia’s approach to the settlement of the internal Ukrainian conflict with unconditional implementation of the Minsk agreements.” Again – a game for the consumer of information within Russia.

In fact, the official London reported literally the following, in addition to the common traditional phrases of politeness:

1 – the current relationship with Russia is not the one the UK needs. He mentioned “significant bilateral difficulties” and made it clear to Putin that the UK remembers the poisoning in Salisbury in 2018;

2 – The Prime Minister “underscored the importance of Ukrainian sovereignty.” That is, he noted this point as the second most important.

 3 – Johnson reminded that Russia is also responsible for “working together to tackle shared challenges.” That is, they will have to answer.

And by the way, some experts believe that it was Putin who called Johnson, and not the other way round. If so, it also says a lot.

Johnson seems to have used this conversation to warn the Russian president. And the message is that not only the Kremlin has the so-called “red lines”.

Andria Lortkipanidze,

Information and Analytical Center for National Security of Ukraine for EMPR

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