What about Margaret Thatcher? Putin rejects Boris Johnson’s claim a woman wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine

The Kremlin leader used Margaret Thatcher’s decision to send troops to the Falklands as a rebuttal

<p>British paratroopers carrying out emergency medical treatment on wounded comrades whilst under fire on Mount Longdon during the Falklands campaign in 1982 PA Photo</p>

British paratroopers carrying out emergency medical treatment on wounded comrades whilst under fire on Mount Longdon during the Falklands campaign in 1982 PA Photo

Russian president Vladimir Putin on Thursday dismissed Boris Johnson’s claim that he wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman.

Speaking at a news conference in the early hours of Thursday during a visit to Turkmenistan, Mr Putin pointed to former British leader Margaret Thatcher's decision to send troops into the Falklands as a rebuttal.

Mr Johnson on Wednesday dubbed Mr Putin’s decision to launch what Moscow calls a “special military operation” against Ukraine a “perfect example of toxic masculinity” and mocked Mr Putin's macho posturing.

He told German broadcaster ZDF: “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.”

Mr Johnson also argued that “you need more women in positions of power” as Nato prepared to discuss an expansion of troop numbers, and membership bids by Finland and Sweden.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace appeared to agree with the PM’s assesment of the Russian leader, saying: “Putin’s view of the world is a small man, macho view of the world.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed reductions in food tariffs as a way of cutting the cost of living (Joe Giddens/PA)

The cabinet minister told LBC: “You rarely hear the phrase small woman syndrome. You always hear small man syndrome and I think he’s certainly got it in spades.”

Hitting back, Putin told reporters: “I just want to recall the events of recent history, when Margaret Thatcher decided to launch military operations against Argentina for the Falkland Islands. So, a woman took the decision to launch military action.

“Therefore it's not an entirely accurate reference from the British prime minister to what is happening today.”

The Iron Lady turned around the fortunes of her party in the late Seventies

The Russian leader went on to criticise Britain's move, 40 years ago, to respond militarily to Argentina's attempt to seize the sparsely populated British-run islands in the South Atlantic.

“Where are the Falkland Islands and where is Britain?” Mr Putin asked. “Thatcher's actions were dictated by nothing less than imperial ambitions and (a desire to) confirm their imperial status."

Moscow has repeatedly railed against Western military interventions in the likes of the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq as examples of Western imperialism and hypocrisy.

But during his two-decade rule Putin himself has faced multiple charges of imperialism, wanting to forcefully expand Russia's borders and influence across the former Soviet space, and has himself said he wished he could reverse the collapse of the USSR.

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