Johnson says ties with Russia needs to improve

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Relations between Britain and other Western countries and Russia plummeted over Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and they accuse Moscow of continuing to support separatists in the country’s east, reports Asian Lite News

The leaders of Britain and Russia spoke in a rare phone call on Monday in advance of the COP26 summit, with London expressing frustration at the tense state of ties.

President Vladimir Putin said he regrets being unable to attend the UN climate summit starting next week in Glasgow, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office said.

Johnson hoped that Russia would take more ambitious steps towards curbing carbon emissions and ending deforestation, his office added.

“The prime minister was clear that the UK’s current relationship with Russia is not the one we want. He said significant bilateral difficulties remain,” it said.

Downing Street highlighted the 2018 poisoning of Russian former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury and the conflict in Ukraine.

British police say three members of Russian military intelligence carried out a nerve agent attack in March 2018 in the English cathedral city.

While Skripal and his daughter recovered, a local woman who came into contact with the nerve agent – Novichok – later died.

Relations between Britain and other Western countries and Russia plummeted over Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and they accuse Moscow of continuing to support separatists in the country’s east.

In its own statement on the call, the Kremlin said Putin and Johnson agreed that “despite the existence of known problems, it would be necessary to establish cooperation between Moscow and London in a number of areas”.

Downing Street said Johnson stressed that London and Moscow had a “responsibility to work together” on issues including the Iran nuclear deal.

The two leaders last spoke in May 2020, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. 

Green push

Johnson urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to bring forward by 10 years Russia’s target for achieving net zero carbon emissions, Johnson’s office said on Monday after the two leaders spoke by phone.

The talks took place after Russia delivered a blow to hopes of a breakthrough international deal on climate change when the Kremlin said last week that Putin would not fly to Scotland for talks starting at the end of October.

“He (Johnson) welcomed the steps Russia has taken in recent days to commit (to) net zero by 2060,” the statement said.

“The prime minister expressed his hope that Russia will raise that target to achieving net zero by 2050 as well as making further progress on ending deforestation and an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution.” Britain, which hosts the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, is seeking support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle global warming.

The Kremlin said Putin promised that Russia’s delegation to Glasgow “will contribute to a successful work of such an important international forum”.

Putin and Johnson also agreed that cooperation between Moscow and London should be established in a number of fields, the Kremlin statement said, without elaborating.

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