UK PM Johnson Says Ukraine Peace Talks Doomed to Fail Because of Putin’s ‘Crocodile’

AHMEDABAD: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said peace talks on Ukraine are likely to fail, and compared holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiating with a crocodile.

Johnson called dealing with Putin “like a crocodile with its leg in its jaws” and said it was vital that the West continue to arm Ukraine.

The prime minister was speaking while en route to India, where he will encourage his counterpart Narendra Modi to end his neutrality on the war in Ukraine. He downplayed the possibility of India ending its longstanding ties with Russia.

“It is very difficult to see how the Ukrainians can negotiate with Putin now given his manifest lack of good faith,” Johnson told reporters. “His strategy of his, which is obvious, is to try to gobble up and capture as much of Ukraine as he can and maybe have some kind of negotiation from a position of strength.”

Johnson said world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, agreed in a call this week that they would continue to supply Ukraine with weapons, including artillery, as Russia intensified its attacks in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia have not held face-to-face peace talks since March 29, and the atmosphere has soured over Ukraine’s accusations that Russian troops committed atrocities in the town of Bucha, near kyiv. Moscow has denied the claims.

Russia seized its first city in eastern Ukraine as part of a new assault this week that Ukrainian authorities have described as the Battle of Donbas.


Johnson said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had told him he was confident of driving Russian troops out of the eastern Donbas region, but that his forces were unlikely to recapture Crimea, which Russia seized eight years ago.

“The opinion of the president of Ukraine, if I understood him correctly, I talk to him a lot, is that he would actually like to see the Russian forces pushed out of their existing positions in Donetsk and Lugansk. That is quite a maximalist position, but in Crimea it is not they are so maximalist,” he said.

Putin has made it clear that he wants to seize more Ukrainian territory and could launch a new assault on the country’s capital, kyiv, Johnson said.

“How can you negotiate with a crocodile when it has your leg in its jaws? That is the difficulty that the Ukrainians face. We have to continue with the strategy, continue to provide them with weapons,” he said.

Johnson said that when he meets Modi in New Delhi on Friday, he will encourage India to support Ukraine. But he accepted that India was likely to maintain its ties with Russia.

“I have already talked to Narendra Modi about Ukraine and indeed the Indians condemned what happened in Bucha,” he said. “But the UK, in particular, has to recognize that there is a historical relationship that India has with Russia. I think we have to be aware of that, and just point out where Putin is, I’m afraid, letting Russia down.” “

India, which is the world’s biggest buyer of Russia’s arms and imports its oil, abstained in a United Nations vote that condemned the invasion and did not impose sanctions on Moscow.

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