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Putin has never threatened me, Germany’s Scholz says – POLITICO

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin has never threatened him or Germany, following claims by Boris Johnson that Putin threatened the previous U.Ok. prime minister with a missile strike.

“Putin didn’t threaten me or Germany” within the cellphone conversations the chancellor has had with the Russian chief, Scholz informed German newspaper Bild in an interview revealed Sunday.

In a British documentary that aired final week, Johnson revealed that Putin threatened him in a protracted cellphone name in February 2022 simply earlier than Russia invaded Ukraine. “He said ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you but, with a missile, it would only take a minute’ — something like that,” Boris mentioned within the documentary, referring to Putin.

Johnson mentioned he took the Russian chief’s menace to be “playing along” with makes an attempt to get him to barter over Ukraine. The Kremlin has denied any menace.

Pushed within the Bild interview on whether or not Scholz had additionally acquired related threats throughout cellphone calls with the Russian chief, the chancellor mentioned “no.”

In his cellphone calls with Putin, “I make it very clear to Putin that Russia has sole responsibility for the war,” Scholz mentioned. “In our telephone conversations, our very different positions on the war in Ukraine become very clear,” he mentioned.

The chancellor additionally denied that Germany’s determination to ship Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine was a menace to Russia.

He mentioned that Germany is delivering battle tanks to Ukraine, together with different allies together with the U.S., in order that Kyiv “can defend itself.”

“This joint approach prevents an escalation of the war,” Scholz mentioned.

Scholz’s feedback come as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that “the situation is getting tougher” on the entrance traces of the struggle within the east of the nation. Moscow is throwing in “more and more of its forces to break our defenses. Now, it is very difficult in Bakhmut, Vuhledar, near Lyman, and other directions,” Zelenskyy mentioned in his nightly address late Saturday.

As battles rage round these cities, an early mediator between Russia and Ukraine firstly of the struggle — former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett who served for simply six months final 12 months — revealed that Putin early within the invasion had promised to not kill Zelenskyy. In an interview with the Associated Press revealed Sunday, Bennett mentioned that in a go to to Moscow in March 2022 he requested Putin if the Kremlin was planning to attempt to kill the Ukrainian chief.

“He said ‘I won’t kill Zelenskyy.’ I then said to him ‘I have to understand that you’re giving me your word that you won’t kill Zelenskyy.’ He said ‘I’m not going to kill Zelenskyy,’” Bennett told the AP. Bennett mentioned that after his assembly, he known as Zelenskyy to tell him of Putin’s feedback.

The Kremlin has beforehand denied Ukrainian claims that Russia supposed to assassinate Zelenskyy.

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