Putin a 'lunatic with small man syndrome' says minister as PM blasts 'toxic masculinity'

29 June 2022, 08:25 | Updated: 29 June 2022, 10:39

By Asher McShane

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has branded Putin a ‘lunatic’ with ‘small man syndrome’ following comments from Boris Johnson who labelled him ‘crazy’ and ‘macho’.

Mr Johnson said the Russian president would not have invaded Ukraine if he was a woman and condemned Putin’s ‘toxic masculinity’.

Speaking as he prepared to go from the G7 summit in Bavaria to NATO, Mr Johnson 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.

“If you want a perfect example of toxic masculinity, it's what he's doing in Ukraine”.

Mr Wallace told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC this morning: “I certainly think Putin's view of himself and the world is a small man syndrome, macho view.

'You rarely hear the phrase small woman syndrome. You always hear small man syndrome and he's got it in spades.”

Mr Wallace said that if he had been leading an invasion as disastrous as Putin's assault on Ukraine, he would have been fired by now and the Government would have been overthrown.

On the progress of Russia's flawed invasion, Mr Wallace said: "I would still say Ukrainians are winning. They are extracting huge amount of cost from the Russian forces. Over 25,000 Russians have been killed.

"Russia has failed on all its major objectives. It is now reduced to a grinding advance of a few hundred metres every few days at massive cost in one small part of eastern Ukraine.

"If it happened the other way round I would have been fired by now, the government would have been overthrown in Britain and there would have been thousands of very angry parents and girlfriends who have lost their husbands.

Mr Wallace said Putin has "reduced Russia in the eyes of the world."

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Reiterating his call for increased defence spending to counter the threat from Russia, Mr Wallace said: "Russia has become far more dangerous to us in the West

"Come the middle of the decade, end of the decade the threat is going to be bigger than it is now.

"Threat is changing and come 2024 we should look at increasing our spending on defence.

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"The world is more dangerous and more anxious, and we need to start having the discussion about how important defence is in all our lives.

"What matters is the job of defending this country. If you don’t have the forces to defend yourself, suddenly it will be a top priority of the public."

On troop numbers, he said: "We are currently at 79,000 trained troops. I will always fight for our troops to be properly equipped, properly led and properly protected and connected.

"I will always fight a government that would try to overstretch troops."

The Prime Minister is expected to urge Nato members to "dig deep" and invest more to modernise defences in Europe.

Boris Johnson will tell them at a summit in Madrid that following Russia's invasion of Ukraine - the decade ahead will be more dangerous.

Yesterday, Turkey lifted its veto over Finland and Sweden's bid to join the defence alliance, clearing the path for expansion.

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