Russian ambassador lectures Boris Johnson in swipe at UK democracy
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Talking at a joint press conference with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, Boris Johnson said “I honestly don’t think a decision has yet been taken” by Russia about invading Ukraine. But he insisted intelligence “remains grim”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also headed to the Belgium capital and reasserted, in a message posted on Twitter, his party’s message over the dispute.
He said: “Labour is firm and united in our support for Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is in Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergeĭ Lavrov.
Ahead of talks, she said: “The UK stands squarely behind Ukraine and its people in the face of Russian aggression.
“The only way forward is for Russia to deescalate, desist and engage in meaningful talks.”
While British officials headed around the world to engage in diplomatic efforts to calm the ongoing row, the Kremlin sent boats to engage in naval drills in the Black Sea.
Photographer Yörük Işık captured the moment the Russian Navy travelled through the Bosphorus, the strait dividing Istanbul in two.
Moscow later said these had arrived at Sevastopol in Crimea, according to reports.
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Naval drills in the Black Sea amounted to a “blatant disregard for the rules and principles of international law”, according to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
In a statement, it said: “Such aggressive actions by the Russian Federation as part of its hybrid war against Ukraine are unacceptable.”
“This is a significant and unjustified complication of international shipping, especially trade, which can cause complex economic and social consequences, especially for the ports of Ukraine.”
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This follows the build-up of around 100,000 Russian troops near the Ukraine border, according to western reports.
In recent diplomatic talks, Moscow said it had “no plans” to invade its neighbour.
Mr Johnson, speaking in Brussels today, on Thursday, did not appear to be wholly convinced.
He said: “I honestly don’t think a decision has yet been taken but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible that something absolutely disastrous could happen very soon indeed.
“Our intelligence, I’m afraid to say, remains grim. We’re seeing the massing of huge numbers of tactical battalion groups on the border with Ukraine.
“This is probably the most dangerous moment in the course of the next few days in what is the biggest security crisis Europe has faced for decades.”
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