UK PM urges Russia’s Putin to include Ukraine in talks on de-escalation

3 February 2022, 01:39 PM

Ukraine should be included in talks on de-escalating the current Russian military buildup on Ukrainian borders, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a phone call.

The UK government reported that the two leaders spoke by phone on the afternoon of Feb. 2.

“The leaders agreed that aggravation was in no one’s interest,” reads a UK government press release issued after the call.

“The prime minister stressed the importance of dialogue and diplomacy, and the need to include Ukraine in talks,” the press release reads.

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The release said Johnson also underscored that, under NATO’s open door policy, all European democracies have a right to aspire to NATO membership, and this right fully applies to Ukraine. He reiterated that NATO is a defensive alliance, and not one, contrary to claims made by Russian officials, focused on destroying Russia.

Johnson expressed his deep concern about Russia’s current hostile activity on the Ukrainian border, stressing that any further Russian incursion into Ukrainian territory would be a tragic miscalculation.

The Kremlin in turn reported that “the leaders held a detailed exchange of views on the internal crisis in Ukraine and developments related to providing long-term, legally binding security guarantees to the Russian Federation.”

Earlier, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya said at a meeting of the UN Security Council that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had repeatedly spoken about readiness for negotiations with his Russian counterpart.

“If Russia has any questions for Ukraine, it is better to meet and talk, rather than pull in troops to the border and intimidate Ukraine.

”During the UN Security Council session on the matter, the Russian delegation abruptly left the meeting chambers just as Kyslytsya began to speak.

Johnson arrived in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Feb. 1 for a state visit with the Ukrainian president.

Johnson was initially expected to announce a new trilateral alliance of Ukraine, Poland and the UK, but these plans were postponed as UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who was also initially expected to attend, tested positive for COVID-19 and remained in the UK.

In a joint statement following the talks, Johnson and Zelensky reaffirmed their desire to deepen the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the UK.

They also warned that any further Russian incursion in Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake and would have a stark humanitarian cost.

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