Germany rejects former UK PM’s claim on Ukraine war stance

BERLIN (AP) — The German government on Wednesday rejected former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s claim that Berlin initially wanted Ukraine to quickly “fold” following Russia’s invasion in February.

CNN Portugal quoted Johnson saying Monday that “the German view was at one stage that if it were going to happen, which would be a disaster, then it would be better for the whole thing to be over quickly, and for Ukraine to fold.” The network reported that Johnson claimed Germany had “all sorts of sound economic reasons” for that stance.

German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said Wednesday that he was “tempted to switch to English and say it’s ‘utter nonsense’ what Boris Johnson said.”

“We know that the very entertaining former prime minister always has his own relationship with the truth,” he added, citing German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s strong defense of Ukraine in a speech to parliament on Feb. 27, three days after the war started. “As such, I think the facts speak against the insinuation I heard in this interview.”

Johnson has repeatedly been accused of lying during his career as a journalist, lawmaker and then prime minister. His was forced to resign by members of his own party in July.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.