Johnson urges Russia to ‘step back’ from Ukraine invasion during Kiev address
Boris Johnson is due to speak with Vladimir Putin today, following the president’s accusation that the West is ignoring Russia’s security concerns.
The Kremlin said that it would provide details if and when President Putin spoke to PM Boris Johnson by phone and that Mr Putin was ready to talk to anyone, including the “utterly confused”.
In his first public comments on the Ukraine crisis since December, Mr Putin yesterday criticised the delivery of military aid to Ukraine and said he believed that the country was being “packed full of weapons”.
Mr Johnson also warned yesterday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a “political disaster, a humanitarian disaster and a military disaster”.
The comments come as leaked texts suggest that a US-Russia arrangement on missiles could de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.
Documents published by the Spanish newspaper El Pais appear to show that the United States could be willing to enter into an agreement with Russia to ease tensions over missile deployments in Europe if Moscow steps back from the brink in Ukraine.
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PM Boris Johnson: ‘We stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine’
Prime minister Boris Johnson has said that the UK stands “shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine” and said that it was “vital” to find a diplomatic solution to tensions with Russia.
Speaking in the House of Commons at PMQs, Mr Johnson referred to his visit to Kyiv saying: “The mission was for our country to show that we stand with the people of Ukraine and that we stand for the sovereign integrity of Ukraine at a very difficult time.
“The situation is very perilous and the job of the UK is to lead the West in bringing together the most important countries in creating a package of economic sanctions that will deter President Putin from what I believe will be a disastrous miscalculation.”
“We are supplying lethal but defensive weaponry as well as training.
“It is vital that diplomacy finds a way forward”.
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 12:56
Dutch PM: ‘Every effort must be made to defuse escalation’
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has said that “every effort must be made to defuse escalation and tensions” in the Ukraine crisis.
Speaking in the capital Kyiv, Mr Rutte said: “I believe that the only solution to de-escalation is diplomacy and dialogue, which should continue between Russia and the United States, Russia and Nato, and between the “Norman format” countries: Ukraine, Germany and France.”
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 12:36
Putin will talk diplomacy with the ‘utterly confused’, says Russia ahead of Boris Johnson call
Russia has said it will hold diplomatic talks with anyone – even the “utterly confused” – hours ahead of a planned call between Vladimir Putin and Boris Johnson.
The Kremlin’s thinly-veiled insult comes amid continuing tensions over Ukraine, with the west warning that the presence of more than 100,000 Russian soldiers near its neighbour’s border could herald war.
Read the full story from Rory Sullivan here:
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 12:33
Ukraine president: We have calmed the markets, currency is strengthening
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said that his government has calmed markets that are worried about a potential Russian invasion of the country.
Speaking alongside the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at a press conference, Mr Zelenskiy said: “We have taken many different steps, stabilised the hysteria, calmed the markets. I can responsibly state that today we see that the national currency is strengthening.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 12:23
Russian diplomat mocks Liz Truss for lack of geography knowledge
A senior Russia diplomat has mocked foreign secretary Liz Truss for getting her geography wrong and mixing up the Baltic and the Black sea, The Telegraph has reported.
Ms Truss had said that the UK was “supplying and offering extra support into our Baltic allies across the Black Sea.”
Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry’s spokesperson, pointed out in a Facebook post that UK’s allies Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are located on or near the Baltic Sea, not the Black Sea which is more than 700 miles away.
Ms Zakharova wrote: “The Baltic states are called so because they are situated on the shores of this sea. Not the Black Sea.
“Where did Mrs Truss get her education and how was she able to occupy several positions in the government with this kind of education? If something needs to be saved, it’s the world that needs to be saved from the stupidity and lack of education of British and American politicians.”
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 12:16
US offers disarmament measures to Russia, according to El Pais report
The United States and Nato have offered Putin the chance to confirm the absence of cruise missiles at bases in Romania and Bulgaria, according to reports in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Under the reported “transparency mechanism”, Russia could check that Tomahawk missiles were not present at the bases in the two countries.
In return, El Pais reported, the US would be able to carry out the same checks at two Russian military bases of its choice.
The paper said that the Biden administration is offering Russia “conditions-based reciprocal transparency measures” under which Russia and the UK would agree to “refrain from deploying offensive ground-launched missile systems and permanent forces with a combat mission in the territory of Ukraine”.
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 12:01
Watch: Trump says Russia-Ukraine tensions ‘wouldn’t have happened’ if he was still president
Donald Trump says Russia-Ukraine tensions ‘wouldn’t have happened’ if he was still president.
Trump says Russia-Ukraine tensions ‘wouldn’t have happened’ if he was still president
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 11:30
Boris Johnson due to have call with Vladimir Putin today
Boris Johnson is due to talk by phone to Vladimir Putin, a day after he arrived in Kyiv for discussions with the Ukrainian prime minister.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that they would provide details if and when President Vladimir Putin spoke to the Prime Minister, adding that Mr Putin was ready to talk to anyone – including the “utterly confused”.
Mr Putin and Mr Johnson had scheduled to talk on Monday but the PM had to postpone the call when Sue Gray’s update into Partygate was published.
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 11:27
Watch: Russian diplomat says British diplomacy cannot be trusted
A senior Russian diplomat has claimed British diplomacy is “absolutely worthless” and can’t be trusted.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador, was speaking ahead of Boris Johnson’s phone call to Vladimir Putin, in which the UK’s prime minister will attempt to cool tensions over Ukraine.
Russian diplomat says British diplomacy is ‘absolutely worthless’ and can’t be trusted
A senior Russian diplomat has claimed British diplomacy is “absolutely worthless” and can’t be trusted.Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador, was speaking ahead of Boris Johnson’s phone call to Vladimir Putin, in which the UK’s prime minister will attempt to cool tensions over Ukraine.“There is always room for diplomacy, but frankly, we don’t trust British diplomacy,” Mr Polyanskiy said.“I think in recent years British diplomacy has shown that it is absolutely worthless.”Mr Johnson and President Putin are expected to speak on Wednesday.Sign up to our newsletters here.
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 11:05
Putin accuses US of ignoring Russia’s proposals
Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of ignoring Russia’s security proposals in his first public comments on the Ukraine crisis since December.
Speaking during a press conference at the Kremlin on Tuesday, Mr Putin said: “It’s already clear… that Russia’s principal concerns were ignored.”
He said that the west was using Ukraine as a “tool to hinder Russia” but added that he was willing to continue negotiations.
President Putin criticised the delivery of military aid to Ukraine and said he believed that the country was being “packed full of weapons”.
He then imagined a situation in which Ukraine joined the Nato alliance and then sought to retake Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014. Mr Putin said: “That’s sovereign Russian territory. So now we have to start a war against the Nato alliance?
“Did anyone think about this? I don’t think so.
“In this sense, Ukraine itself is just an instrument to achieve this goal. This can be done in different ways, by drawing us into some kind of armed conflict.”
Holly Bancroft2 February 2022 11:00