Boris Johnson on Ukraine diplomacy mission after missing Putin call
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is travelling to Ukraine on a diplomatic mission to avoid armed conflict as the country walks a tightrope with Russia.
Johnson is due to meet with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, to ease tensions, but will do so despite missing an important call with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday.
The PM was scheduled to speak with Putin, who is not on speaking terms with Zelenskyy, but the call was cancelled as he had to address the House of Commons after Sue Gray’s ‘partygate’ report was published.
It is thought the call will be rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon (2 February), after Johnson’s meeting with the Ukraine president today (1 February).
Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss – who was due to travel to Ukraine with the PM, before she tested positive for Covid – has joined the US pledges to enforce tough sanctions on Russia if they invade.
Ms Truss told the House of Commons that new legislation will be imposed from 10 February will allow the government to impose a wider range of sanctions on Russian-related individuals and businesses.
The new sanctions would not come into affect immediately once the legislation is passed, but only “in the event of any further Russian incursion into Ukraine,” she said.
Russia has warned that any further sanctions would backfire and hurt British businesses and shareholders.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the sanctions were an “undisguised attack on business” and warned it would lead to retaliatory measures “based on our interests”.
The new measures would allow the UK Foreign Office to freeze assets and ban travel to individuals and businesses, in-line with pledges made by US President Joe Biden.
Ms Truss added: “Their assets in the UK will be frozen. No UK business or individual would be able to transact with them. And should they seek to enter the UK, they would be turned back.
“Those in and around the Kremlin will have nowhere to hide.”
However, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been less than enthusiastic about Western powers threatening sanctions based on further incursion.
A source close to the president told the Axios website that these types of sanctions are “at best neutral, at worst actually emboldening Putin”.
Many people close to the situation are concerned that NATO has not shown enough action to deter Putin and Russia, and that these threats of sanctions will not deter the former KGB agent from invading Ukraine.
Russia has placed an estimated 100,000 troops, tanks, artillery and missiles near Ukraine’s frontiers, but it has continued to deny any plans to invade the former Soviet republic – which lies on the border of the European Union.
Contact Gi National
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org