Vladimir Putin's Relationship With Boris Johnson Explained

Hostile relations between Russia and Ukraine have been a topic of global debate ever since the former invaded the latter on February 24 (per BBC). Since then, Vladimir Putin, Russia's current standing president and leader, has launched what BBC also reports is now "the biggest war in Europe since World War Two." From full-scale military operations and regional takeovers to gradual but calculated moves toward small settlements, there is no question that military force will forever be attached to Putin's legacy.

In terms of public support, the former KGB officer and military strategist grows more controversial with each war-torn casualty, his approval rating swinging like a pendulum (via Statista). For Putin, the real war for power and influence is arguably happening on a much more personal level, in a political arena far from the battlefield. Much like the war that's currently unfolding under his leadership, Putin's personal and political relationships are equally hostile.

American leaders have called him a murderer and branded him a thug (per The Week). Leaders in Pakistan have taken a neutral stance, claiming friendship with all parties, including Russia (via Daily Mail). Now we can add British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's name to the list of politicians who have a complex relationship with the controversial Russian president as well.

Boris Johnson called Russia's invasion of Ukraine a display of Putin's toxic masculinity

According to Reuters, Russian President Vladimir Putin came under a different kind of fire when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson engaged him in a war of words. From the start, the relationship between these two politicians has been of a critical nature. It is equal parts sarcasm and disapproval mixed with a hint of clashing ideologies that is playing out on a global stage like a bizarre reality television show.

Most recently, Prime Minister Johnson has suggested that the entire war is just a show of chauvinism, insinuating that lives are being lost not in a battle for territory or a war for power, but in a show of Putin's toxic masculinity. The Washington Post reports that Johnson even went so far as to proclaim that if Putin were a woman, the war never would have started in the first place.

In his own words, before the reeling cameras of Germany's ZDF Media (via The Washington Post), Johnson reportedly proclaimed, "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."

Putin clapped back with insults about Boris Johnson's physique

Reuters reports that Putin was taken aback by the toxic masculinity comment. He shot back a rebuttal, pointing out that former female British leader Margaret Thatcher marched military forces into the Falkland Islands, sparking a 74-day war. (According to History, her actions were generally well-received, garnering her the nickname "Iron Lady.")

According to The Washington Post, the argument was further fueled online, with many social media commentators claiming Putin deserved even worse names in the wake of the current state of violence. Other influencers pointed out Johnson's own history of sarcasm which has sometimes come at the expense of women in particular (via The Guardian).

In the end, it was Putin who threw the final punch by taking jabs at Johnson's bare midriff, claiming the prime minister would look absolutely "disgusting" with his shirt off (via Fox News). When it comes to hostile political relationships, it would seem that these two controversial leaders are hitting each other below the belt.