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It is Johnson, not Putin, who has gone ‘full tonto’, Russian official suggests

The Russian spokesman said ‘similar adjectives’ could have been used by Ben Wallace about Boris Johnson (House of Commons/PA)
The Russian spokesman said ‘similar adjectives’ could have been used by Ben Wallace about Boris Johnson (House of Commons/PA)

The Defence Secretary could have used “similar adjectives” to describe Boris Johnson when he told troops that Vladimir Putin had gone “full tonto”, Russia has said.

Ben Wallace made the unguarded comments while chatting to serving military personnel at the Horse Guards building in Westminster on Wednesday.

Speaking about the situation in Ukraine, he said: “It’s going to be a busy Army.

“Unfortunately we’ve got a busy adversary now in Putin, who has gone full tonto.”

Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman, was asked about the comments by Sky News at a press briefing on Friday.

According to the translation on Sky News, she said it was “surprising that such evaluations are given by (the) defence minister of the UK regarding authorities of a different state”.

She added: “I think he could have thought up of similar adjectives… thinking of (the) British Prime Minister if we talk about personal judgment.”

Ukraine – Russian tensions
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, right, made the comments while speaking to military personnel at the Horse Guards building in Westminster (Dave Jenkins/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)

Earlier on Friday Mr Wallace, a former Scots Guards officer, was asked on Sky News whether he was now even more convinced Mr Putin had “gone full tonto” and was acting irrationally.

“I certainly think what he is doing is deeply irrational,” he said.

“I certainly think he has gone full tonto.”

He said: “No one else in their right mind would do what we are seeing on our telly screen today.

“No one else would impose their will on another sovereign country with all sorts of concocted conspiracies, and very bizarre readings of history, unless somehow they were acting deeply irrationally.”

Mr Wallace also said on Wednesday that his regiment had “kicked the backside” of Tsar Nicholas I during the Crimean War and “we can always do it again”.

He said: “Tsar Nicholas I made the same mistake Putin did… he had no friends, no alliances.”

Mr Wallace’s assessment of the Russian president came after Mr Johnson accused Mr Putin of being “in an illogical and irrational frame of mind”.

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