Boris Johnson/Foot. Annika Haas (CC 2.0)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is heading to Ukraine to continue talks with that country’s president. His visit is linked to growing fears of a possible Russian invasion.
Johnson promised to work with Volodymyr Zelensky to find a diplomatic way to settle differences with Moscow and de-escalate conflict in the region. At the same time, the UK government announced that it is offering Ukraine £88 million to strengthen Ukraine’s stable governance and energy independence from Russia. In an interview with the BBC, Johnson said:
Britain – as a friend and democratic partner – will continue to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty from those who want to destroy it. We call on Russia to withdraw and enter into dialogue in order to find a diplomatic solution and avoid further bloodshed.
Johnson is also seeking to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coming days.
The UK prime minister is also considering NATO’s offer to deploy another 900 troops to Estonia – thus doubling the British force in the Baltic nation.
Downing Street has announced that the UK may in the coming days send aircraft, warships and military specialists to NATO allies in the region to reinforce Europe’s borders “in the face of increasing Russian aggression”.
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We will not tolerate the destabilizing activities of the Kremlin. We will always stand with our NATO allies in the face of Russian hostility. If President Putin chooses the devastating path of bloodshed, it will be a tragedy for Europe. The Financial Times quoted the British Prime Minister as saying that Ukraine should be free to choose its future.
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced that the UK was preparing legislation to impose economic sanctions on companies linked to the Kremlin.
Truss was supposed to accompany Johnson on his visit to Kiev, but he announced last Monday that she had tested positive for coronavirus and therefore had to self-isolate.
Downing Street reported that one of Britain’s largest aircraft carriers, the HMS Prince of Wales, with a capacity of around 40 combat aircraft and helicopters, is on standby and could depart within hours if needed. But Britain believes in a peaceful solution to the conflict.
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