Russia's Putin would not have started military offensive in Ukraine if he was a woman, says UK PM Johnson. Putin answers "a woman decided to start a war" against Argentina, referring to then British PM Thatcher's 1982 Falkland Islands offensive.
Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have started the military offensive in Ukraine if he was a woman, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, provoking an immediate reaction from Putin who reminded Johnson of ex-British PM Margaret Thatcher's military assault on Argentina.
"If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn't, but if he were, I really don't think he would've embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has," Johnson told German broadcaster ZDF on Tuesday evening.
Putin's offensive on Ukraine is "a perfect example of toxic masculinity", he said, calling for better education for girls around the world and for "more women in positions of power".
Putin, speaking in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat, dismissed Johnson's comments as "incorrect".
"I'd like to point to events in modern history when (former British prime minister) Margaret Thatcher decided to launch an offensive against Argentina for control of the Falkland Islands" in 1982, he said.
"There, a woman decided to start a war," which ended in British victory the same year, the Russian leader said.
Johnson harbouring 'sweaty fantasies'
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also responded to Johnson's comments by telling state news agency RIA Novosti that "good old (psychoanalyst Sigmund) Freud would have loved having in his lifetime such a subject for his research".
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, meanwhile, accused Johnson of harbouring "sweaty fantasies".
"What have the 7 been doing together?" she wrote on messaging app Telegram, referring to a recent gathering of the Group of Seven leaders in Germany.
During the ZDF interview, the British prime minister also acknowledged that "of course people want the war to end", but for the moment "there's no deal available. Putin isn't making an offer of peace".
Western allies must support Ukraine to enable it to be in the best possible strategic position in the event that peace negotiations with Moscow do become possible, he added.