Vladimir Putin is a ‘lunatic’ with ‘small man syndrome’, says Ben Wallace

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Putin in 2009. He has carefully cultivated a strongman image over two decades in power - Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Getty Images
Putin in 2009. He has carefully cultivated a strongman image over two decades in power - Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Getty Images

Ben Wallace has said Vladimir Putin is a “lunatic” with “small man syndrome”, as he accused him of trying to change history through “violence and invasion”.

The Defence Secretary doubled down on Boris Johnson’s comments on Tuesday, when the Prime Minister described the Russian president as an example of “toxic masculinity” and suggested he would not have invaded Ukraine if he was a woman.

“If Putin were a woman, which he obviously isn’t ... I really don’t think he would have embarked on a crazy macho war, an invasion of violence, in the way that he has,” said Mr Johnson.

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

Asked about the comments on LBC Radio on Wednesday, Mr Wallace said: “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.

“I think the real challenge here is the Russian system’s view that, somehow, some states are lesser than others and their rights do not count.

“If they want to paint themselves into a new history, they seem to think the way to do that is through violence and invasion, and I think that is something I worry about.”

Vladimir Putin guilty of 'appalling' acts

On Wednesday night, Mr Johnson went further in an interview, after being asked if he thought Putin was “evil”.

“I think it probably follows that if you are what you do, then certainly,” he said.

“It’s been an appalling act of unwarranted aggression against the innocent population.”

At the G7 summit on Monday, Mr Johnson joked with Justin Trudeau that the pair should take their jackets off to emulate a photo opportunity where the Russian leader posed topless on horseback.

“We’re going to get the bare-chested horseback riding display,” said Mr Trudeau.

Mr Johnson replied: “There you go! We’ve got to show them our pecs.”

A Downing Street spokesman denied that the Government had decided to mock Putin in interviews as a strategy to undermine him.

“There is not a deliberate policy,” said the spokesman.