Boris Johnson claims Germany favored Ukraine defeat and France was in ‘denial’
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed on Wednesday that France was in “denial” before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while German leaders only hoped it would end “quickly”.
“This was a big shock,” Johnson said in an interview with CNN Portugal. “We saw how the Russian battalion tactical groups came together, but different countries had very different perspectives.”
Johnson specifically called out three European Union nations that he said were less firm than other allies in their response to Russia’s “special military operation,” which was launched nine months ago.
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“The German view at one time was that if it happened, which would be a disaster, it would be better if it was all over quickly and Ukraine folded,” Johnson said, referring to “everyone.” for sound economic reasons” for his position.
“I couldn’t stand that, I thought it was a disastrous way to see it. But I can understand why they thought and felt the way they did,” he added.
Germany faced immense backlash for its lackluster initial support for Ukraine, infamously sending Kyiv troops 5,000 helmets ahead of the invasion while other NATO allies deployed anti-tank missiles, drones, ammunition and weaponry.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko notably mocked Germany’s shipment, saying: “What kind of support will Germany send next? Pillows?”
Germany has increased its defense aid to Ukraine, although Berlin has continued to face some backlash at home and abroad for wavering on the amount of support it has provided.
France, which has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine, was apparently surprised when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his “special military operation” on February 24, even though French President Emmanuel Macron traveled to Moscow a few days later weeks before the invasion to urge Putin. to keep the peace
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Macron came back with alleged assurances from Putin that he would not escalate the crisis then brewing on Ukraine’s borders, where Russia continued to build up troops.
“Make no doubt that the French were in denial right up to the last moment,” Johnson said.
France’s military intelligence chief was fired in March for failing to predict Russia’s plans.
Johnson also said the initial response from Italy, which was then under Mario Draghi, that “in a simple moment [said] that they could not support the position we were taking” because of their “massive” dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.
However, once Russia invaded Ukraine, the attitudes of previously reluctant EU nations changed, Johnson said.
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“What happened was everybody: Germans, French, Italians, everybody, [President] Joe Biden — he saw that there was simply no choice,” he said. “Because you couldn’t negotiate with this guy. [Putin]. That’s the key point.”
“The EU has done it brilliantly,” he continued. “After all my anxieties… I pay tribute to the way the EU has acted. They have been united.”