Support Us

Boris Johnson swore when he learned Russia had invaded Ukraine

Monday, 16 October 2023, 17:32
Boris Johnson swore when he learned Russia had invaded Ukraine
Boris Johnson. Photo: Getty Images

Despite the prevailing view held by Western intelligence that Ukraine would fall within days of the Russian invasion, former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson still believed that Putin had made a mistake and the Ukrainians would fight back.

Source: the latest episode of Ukrainska Pravda’s podcast 24 February Reconstructed

Details: Johnson says that UK intelligence was very clear that Putin was planning "something stupid". The United Kingdom had intercepted many signals and conversations on 23 February in which Russian commanders were telling the commanders of tactical battalion groups to move into position.


Johnson also recalls the moment when he received a message from the UK national security adviser about the invasion.

Quote from Johnson: "They said: ‘Putin’s invaded, and it’s started, it’s happening.’ And I apparently said something terrible in English, which I won't repeat, but I allowed a profanity to pass my lips.

Then I talked to President Zelenskyy, a little bit later. He said they were invading from all sides; he described what was happening in the east, in the north. You’ve got to remember that at this stage, people really thought that Ukraine would not last very long."

Details: Johnson also says that he did not believe the information from military intelligence that Ukraine would fall in a few days.

Quote: "The military intelligence people were telling both me and our friends in Washington that Ukraine would not have the ability to hold out for very long. But I want you to know something: I didn't think they were right. Because I didn't understand how they could be right. I’d been to Ukraine and I knew it was a huge country, and I knew that the Ukrainians would not want to be conquered by the Russians.

Obviously I’m not a general, I’m not a tactician, I’m not a military man. But my instinct was that they’d made a mistake. So I was desperate to make sure that we got you guys everything that you needed as fast as possible."

Read this English translation of our podcast 24 February Reconstructed for more information about how the fronts arose and moved on 24 February; who heroically stopped the Russians’ advance and how they did it; and how our cities and the country as a whole recovered from the initial shock and went on the defensive.

Support UP or become our patron!