Boris Johnson has claimed Russia would be plunged into a ‘cryogenic economic freeze’ if Vladimir Putin launched a ‘crazy’ nuclear strike on Ukraine.
In a warning to the Russian President about the consequences of escalating his barbaric war, the former prime minister insisted Mr Putin would suffer a ‘total disaster’.
Mr Johnson told Sky News that Mr Putin would ‘immediately tender Russia’s resignation from the club of civilised nations’ if he used nuclear weapons.
He insisted the Russian President would be further isolated among global nations by losing the ‘tacit acquiesence’ of countries across Africa, South America and Asia, as well as the ‘patronage of the Chinese’.
The ex-PM also claimed Mr Putin’s launching of a nuclear strike would see ‘an absolutely hysterical reaction’ in Russia itself.
Meanwhile, in his first interview since leaving No10, Mr Johnson confirmed he would be attending the Cop-27 climate change summit in Egypt this month.
His attendance will increase pressure on current PM Rishi Sunak to reverse his initial decision to snub the Sharm El-Sheikh gathering in order to focus on his economic plans.
During his time as PM, Mr Johnson visited Ukrainian capital Kyiv three times as he forged a close bond with the country’s President Volodmyr Zelensky
Mr Johnson claimed Mr Putin’s launching of a nuclear strike would see ‘an absolutely hysterical reaction’ in Russia itself
The former prime minister said the act would ‘immediately tender Russia’s resignation from the club of civilised nations’ and plunge the country into a ‘kind of cryogenic economic freeze’.
He added that he suspects it would trigger an ‘absolutely hysterical reaction’ in Russia itself.
It comes as the Defence Secretary has said momentum on the ground remains with Ukraine, with Crimea expected to come within range of Ukrainian artillery by the end of November.
There have been suggestions that Moscow could attempt to escalate the conflict, but Mr Johnson said he does not think Mr Putin will resort to using a tactical nuclear weapon.
During his time as PM, Mr Johnson put Britain at the forefront of Western efforts in supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brutal assault.
He even visited Ukrainian capital Kyiv three times as he forged a close bond with the country’s President Volodmyr Zelensky.
The ex-PM insisted it was not ‘credible’ for Mr Putin to keep hold of the four further Ukrainian regions the Russian leader has annexed since launching his most recent invasion effort in late February.
‘He will lose those,’ Mr Johnson added.
Boris Johnson told Sky News that Mr Putin would ‘immediately tender Russia’s resignation from the club of civilised nations’ if he used nuclear weapons
Mr Johnson – who spearheaded Britain’s hosting of last year’s Cop-26 summit in Glasgow – said he had been ‘invited by the Egyptians’ to Cop-27 and was ‘very happy to go’
This sentiment was echoed by Mr Wallace at a meeting of the Lords International Relations and Defence Committee on Tuesday.
“The direction of travel is that I think it is likely that by the end of this month, the northern part of Kherson will be depleted of Russians or the Russians will have left that part, which brings into range parts of Crimea from long-range artillery that the Ukraine held or the HIMARS-type systems,” he said.
Asked whether he feared whether Mr Putin could use a ‘tactical nuclear weapon’ as the conflict moves away from him, the ex-PM replied: ‘I don’t think he will. I think he’d be crazy to do so.
‘I think what would happen is he would immediately tender Russia’s resignation from the club of civilised nations. It would be a total disaster for his country.
‘The current economic punishment that the West has been able to dish out would be massively intensified.
‘Russia would be put into a kind of cryogenic economic freeze.
‘And I think he would lose a lot of the middle ground of global tacit acquiesence that’s he had.
‘If you look at sub-Saharan Africa, if you look at Latin America… look at South Asia, there is a lot of willingness to give Putin the benefit of the doubt.
‘That will go the minute he does anything like that. He would also crucially lose the patronage of the Chinese.
‘Above all, in his own country, I think he would trigger an absolutely hysterical reaction.’
Elsewhere in his Sky News interview, Mr Johnson – who spearheaded Britain’s hosting of last year’s Cop-26 summit in Glasgow – said he had been ‘invited by the Egyptians’ to Cop-27 and was ‘very happy to go’.
The confirmation of his attendance will add to pressure on Mr Sunak to also travel to Sharm El-Sheikh.
Downing Street yesterday admitted Mr Sunak could perform a U-turn and travel to Egypt this month, despite initially having said the PM would not be attending Cop-27.
This had sparked a backlash among climate campaigners, including claims Mr Sunak was abandoning Britain’s global leadership on environmental issues.
But No10 subsequently revealed the PM’s attendance was now ‘under review’.
This was due to Mr Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt having made ‘substantial progress’ on their plans for the Autumn Statement on 17 November, Downing Street said.
No 10 had previously defended Mr Sunak’s planned absence from Cop-27 by pointing to his desire to focus on ‘other pressing domestic commitments’, such as the dire state of the public finances.
Mr Johnson also gave his backing to Mr Sunak, insisting the PM had ‘a massive amount to do’.
‘We’ve got to sort out a huge agenda – that’s what’s he’s getting on with,’ he said.
Mr Johnson spoke of his ‘particular interest’ in attending ‘Cop-27’, adding: ‘I was at the Glasgow Cop – although it’s become unfashionable to talk about it, was a fantastic global success.
‘We did a huge amount of good for the planet, I want to talk a little bit about how I see things and how we see things in the UK.’
US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron are among other world leaders expected to attend Cop-27.