Putin is evil just like Stalin, says Boris Johnson

Laura Kuenssberg grills Boris Johnson over Saudi visit

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Mr Johnson also likened the mission to restore the collapsed USSR to the imperialist rule of the tsars. He said: “Putin sees himself as being the successor not just of Stalin but of the tsars. He sees himself as somebody in the tradition of an all-powerful Russian autocrat. “He was very shocked and upset by the way the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s and he thought that was a humiliation for Russia.

“What he’s trying to do now is rebuild as much of the Soviet Union as he can.”

Russian state TV raised doubts over Putin’s physical state yesterday as it cut away from him mid-speech.

He appeared to walk with a limp as he left the stage in front of thousands of supporters during an elaborate event marking the eighth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said it was due to a “technical glitch on a server” and the full speech was later aired.

Mr Johnson also told FYI – Sky News’ current affairs show for young people – that he fears Putin is using the threat of nuclear weapons as a distraction tactic to “get away” with his invasion of Ukraine.

Nato countries including the UK have held back from military intervention over fears it would trigger a wider world war.

The PM said: “This is a conventional war by Vladimir Putin to conquer and subjugate, to crush a totally innocent country and a totally innocent civilian population who’ve done nothing wrong.

“And in what he’s doing I’ve never seen such a clear difference between good and evil. He’s going to try to sound threatening to the rest of the world about what could happen. It is very important that we treat that as a complete distraction.

“This is about helping the people of Ukraine to protect themselves.

“They have every right to defend themselves.”

Mr Johnson is convinced Putin’s invasion will fail and insisted he “fatally underestimated” the heroism of the Ukrainian people and their leader Volodymyr Zelensky, above.

The PM told the Scottish Conservative conference: “He underestimated the resolve of the Ukrainians to fight. He underestimated Western unity.”

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