Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticized French President Emmanuel Macron at the start of the war with Ukraine, accusing him of being a “Putin sycophant”, Johnson’s former communications director Guto Hari confirmed Thursday.
In early March 2022, with tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing their country as a result of the start of the Russian war on February 24 of the same year, British media and several European countries criticized the United Kingdom for hosting a small number of refugees.
“Macron criticized Boris very directly, and his statements made the front page of the ‘Guardian’ newspaper, and it was on a Friday, I think,” Johnson’s former communications director said in a new episode published Thursday of his “Inpresented” podcast.
And he recounted that Johnson, during a meeting with his advisors, “launched a violent attack on Emmanuel Macron, describing him as stupid, saying that he is an eccentric and flatterer of Putin.”
Harry quoted Johnson as saying, “We should take off the gloves and have a frog attack,” a description used to demean the French.
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The United Kingdom and its leaders have declared support for Kiev since the start of the conflict with Russia, questioning the French President’s attempts to persuade his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, not to invade Ukraine.
Harry explained that the visit of the French President to Moscow a few weeks before the start of the war made Boris Johnson alienate him, but confirmed that the two leaders reconciled after that.
“They drank whiskey together at the G7 summit and said to each other: ‘My friend, nice to meet you, Emmanuel,'” Johnson said, inviting Macron to London “so we can show the world that our camaraderie is alive.”
A spokesman for Boris Johnson refused to comment on the statements made by his former adviser, explaining that the former prime minister did not participate in this “podcast”.
According to official figures, the UK has issued about 230,000 visas to Ukrainians since the start of the war.