Boris Johnson claims Germany favored Ukraine's defeat and France was in 'denial'
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Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed on Wednesday that France was "in denial" ahead of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, while Germany's leaders only hoped it would be "quickly over".
"This thing came as a huge shock," Johnson said in an interview with CNN Portugal. “We could see the Russian battalion tactical groups piling up, but different countries had very different perspectives.”
Johnson specifically named three European Union nations he said were less steadfast than other allies in their response to Russia's "special military operation" launched nine months ago.
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"The German view at one point was that it would be better if it happened, which would be a disaster if the whole thing was over quickly and Ukraine collapsed," said Johnson, alluding to "all kinds of things". valid economic reasons" for their attitude.
"I couldn't support that, I found that a disastrous view. But I can understand why they thought and felt the way they did," he added.
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Germany faced immense backlash for its initially lackluster support of Ukraine, notoriously sending Kiev troops 5,000 helmets in advance of the invasion, while other NATO allies deployed anti-tank missiles, drones, ammunition and weapons.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko particularly scoffed at Germany's delivery, saying, "What kind of support will Germany send next? Pillow?"
Germany has increased its defense aid to Ukraine, although Berlin has continued to face backlash at home and abroad over its hesitation in the amount of assistance it is providing.
France, which has been a strong supporter of Ukraine, was apparently surprised when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his "special military operation" on February 24 - although French President Emmanuel Macron traveled to Moscow to meet Putin just weeks before the invasion urge to keep the peace.
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Macron returned with alleged assurances from Putin that he would not escalate the crisis then deepening on Ukraine's borders, where Russia continued to rally troops.
"Be assured that the French have been in denial until the last moment," Johnson said.
France's military intelligence chief was fired in March for failing to predict Russia's plans.
Johnson also called for the first response from Italy, then under Mario Draghi, who "once simply [said] that they could not support our position" because it was "massively" dependent on Russian hydrocarbons.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, the attitude of previously reluctant EU nations changed, Johnson said.
Ukrainian soldiers fire a BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launch system on April 20, 2022 in the Kharkiv region.
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"What happened was that everyone - Germans, French, Italians, everyone, [President] Joe Biden - saw that there was just no option," he said. “Because you couldn't negotiate with that guy [Putin]. That's the whole point."
"The EU has done a brilliant job," he continued. “After all my fears … I give credit to the EU's actions. They were united.”
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2019 to 2022
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