Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman, Boris Johnson has claimed.
The UK prime minister said the “crazy, macho” invasion was a “perfect example of toxic masculinity” and he called for “more women in positions of power”.
Johnson’s comments come ahead of a NATO meeting where allies will discuss how to respond to future threats.
At the summit in Madrid, he is set to call on fellow members of the defensive alliance to ramp up defence spending.
The UK’s defence spending is projected to reach 2.3% of GDP – a key measure of the annual income of a country – this year as a result of defence industry investment and £1.3bn in military support for Ukraine, the government said.
Several other nations that make up the alliance have not met the 2% annual target set by Nato.
On Tuesday, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace urged Johnson to increase spending on the UK’s armed forces even further, in light the threat posed by Russia.
Speaking after the G7 summit of wealthy nations in Bavaria, Johnson gave an interview to German broadcaster ZDF.
While speaking about gender equality and the importance of education, he said “you need more women in positions of power”.
“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 said.
“If you want a perfect example of toxic masculinity, it’s what he’s doing in Ukraine.”
Johnson also said that while G7 leaders “desperately” want an end to the war in Ukraine, there is “no deal available” currently.
But he also described the summit as “incredible” as leaders “got closer and closer” to an agreement.
Johnson said the West must support Ukraine’s military strategy, in order to get President Volodymr Zelensky “in the best possible position” in negotiations with Russia “when talks eventually come”.
The NATO meeting in Madrid comes after news that Turkey has reached a deal with prospective members Finland and Sweden, removing a final barrier to their joining. (BBC)