UK calls on Russia to defuse tensions with Ukraine – News

In a meeting, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Vladimir Putin of his deep concern over the build-up of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. – AFP

By AFP

Posted: Mon 13 Dec 2021, 20:57

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, telling him to “defuse tensions” with Ukraine, Downing Street said.

The British leader echoed G7 concerns on Sunday over strengthening Russian forces at the border, calling for a diplomatic solution to the impasse, his office said.

His intervention comes after a two-day G7 meeting in which the group’s top diplomats warned Moscow of “massive consequences” if the former Soviet state was invaded.

Direct contact between London and Moscow has been rare since London expelled dozens of Russian diplomats following a chemical weapons attack in the English town of Salisbury.

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Britain has blamed Russia for the 2018 attempted murder of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter with the Cold War-era nerve agent Novichok.

He had previously accused the Kremlin of being behind the radiation poisoning death of another former Russian agent, Alexander Litvinenko, in London in 2006.

Downing Street said Johnson had told Putin “deep concern” about the build-up of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, which Moscow says is defensive.

He “reiterated the importance of working through diplomatic channels to defuse tensions and identify lasting solutions,” according to the government statement.

“The Prime Minister underlined the UK’s commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and warned that any destabilizing action would be a strategic mistake with significant consequences.”

The G7, made up of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, unanimously condemned Russia and warned it of serious repercussions in similar language.

All options, including sweeping political and economic sanctions, were on the table if Russia ignored a diplomatic solution, officials said.

Christi C. Elwood