Boris Johnson compares Putin to ‘fat boy in Dickens’

Russia: Boris Johnson says Putin would be ‘crazy’ to use nukes

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In a blistering personal attack, the former Prime Minister also insisted that the Russian tyrant would not deliver on his threat to use nuclear weapons. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Johnson said that any use of nuclear weapons by Russia would leave it in “complete economic paralysis” as nations including China and India would turn against it.

He urged western allies to give Ukraine tanks to help it fight Russian forces.

When Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s deputy prime minister, used an ice-hockey metaphor to call for more support, Mr Johnson said that Putin must “get the puck out of Ukraine”.

Asked what he thought was going through Mr Putin’s mind, Mr Johnson warned against spending too much time obsessing about the Russian leader or worrying about the escalation of the conflict.

Mr Johnson said: “Putin wants to present it as a nuclear stand-off between Nato and Russia.

“Nonsense. He’s not going to use nuclear weapons, OK. He’s like the fat boy in Dickens, he wants to make our flesh creep. He wants us to think about it. He’s never going to do it.”

The ex-prime minister is known to pepper his speech with literary references, here citing a servant character in Charles Dickens’ novel, The Pickwick Papers, known as the fat boy, who tells an old lady “I wants to make your flesh creep” with a shocking revelation.

Mr Johnson argued that deploying nuclear weapons would put the Russian president into “a complete economic cryogenic paralysis”, turn states such as China and India against him, and “terrify the Russians”.

“He’s not going to do it. Don’t go down that rabbit hole, stop it,” Mr Johnson added.

Mr Johnson also urged the audience to “stop worrying about Kremlinology”, quipping: “It’s difficult to work out what’s gonna happen in UK politics, let alone in the Kremlin.” He continued: “What we’ve got to focus on is supporting Ukraine and giving Volodymyr Zelensky the tools he needs to finish the job. And they can win and they will win…

“Give them the tanks.”

Mr Johnson was joined on the discussion panel by speakers including Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte; Yulia Svyrydenko, first vice prime minister of Ukraine; US climate envoy John Kerry and Canada’s deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland.

Ukrainian President Mr Zelensky reiterated his call for countries to move faster in supplying weapons as he addressed the event by video link.

“The vaccine against Russian tyranny is available,” he said.

The UK has announced plans to supply Kyiv with British Army Challenger 2 main battle tanks.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are steering clear of the annual gathering of international movers and shakers in the exclusive Swiss ski resort, although the Government is being represented by Business Secretary Grant Shapps and International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch.

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