If Putin was a woman, there would be no Ukraine war: UK's Johnson
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson listens to the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani speak at the start of their meeting inside 10 Downing Street, in London, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Britain’s governing Conservatives will hold a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, June 6, 2022 that could oust him as Britain’s leader. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool, FILE)

BERLIN, Germany (AFP)— Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have started the war in Ukraine if he was a woman, according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"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 invasion of 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.

Kremlin spokesman 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 spokeswoman 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.

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