Putin briefs Boris about Ukrainian situation

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PM expressed concern over the alleged large-scale movement of Russian troops along the Ukrainian borders, the Kremlin said in a statement on Monday, reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin informed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of his assessments of the current situation in Ukraine during a phone call.

Johnson expressed concern over the alleged large-scale movement of Russian troops along the Ukrainian borders, the Kremlin said in a statement on Monday.

Putin gave Johnson specific examples of how authorities in Kiev undermined the implementation of the Minsk agreements, “which are an uncontested basis for resolving the internal crisis in Ukraine.”

The Russian President also pointed to the “discrimination against the Russian-speaking population” in Ukraine.

He underlined the need to immediately begin negotiations on clear and internationally legal agreements against the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s further eastward expansion and against the deployment of weapons in Russia’s neighbours, primarily Ukraine.

The Russian side will present draft documents on this issue, Putin added.

“It was underlined that all this is happening against the background of active military ‘expansion’ on the territory of Ukraine by NATO countries creating a direct threat to the security of Russia,” the Kremlin said.

US intelligence assesses that Russia could be planning a multifront offensive on neighbouring Ukraine as early as next year, involving up to 175,000 soldiers.

The Kremlin denies it plans to invade and says the West is gripped by Russophobia. Moscow says the expansion of NATO threatens Russia and has contravened assurances given to it as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

On its part, Downing Street said Johnson told Putin of his “deep concern” at the Russian troop build-up on Ukraine’s border.

He “reiterated the importance of working through diplomatic channels to de-escalate tensions and identify durable solutions”, the British government statement said.

“The prime minister emphasised the UK’s commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and warned that any destabilising action would be a strategic mistake that would have significant consequences.”

Johnson’s intervention comes after a two-day meeting of the G7 in which the grouping’s top diplomats warned Moscow of “massive consequences” if it invades the former Soviet state.

Also on Monday, European foreign ministers slapped sanctions on Russia’s private military company Wagner, blacklisting eight individuals and three companies associated with the group that is believed to be serving the Kremlin’s efforts to “destabilise” Ukraine, Syria, Libya and several African countries.

Next, the EU ministers signalled their readiness to impose huge new measures targeting Russia’s economy if Russia goes ahead with direct military action.

“Allow me to say, once again, firmly that the European Union is standing united in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

Zelensky, Macron hold talks

Meanwhile, on Monday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a phone conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to discuss his country’s security situation.

During the talks, the two leaders discussed the ways to unlock the negotiation process in the Normandy format, designed to end the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas through diplomatic means.

Zelensky said that Kiev stands ready to continue active work within the Normandy Four, which comprises Ukraine, France, Russia and Germany.

Zelensky and Macron stressed the need to resume the effective functioning of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) to achieve an effective ceasefire, the release of hostages and the opening of the checkpoints in Donbas.

The TCG, consisting of representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, was formed to facilitate a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Donbas.

On Thursday, Zelensky held a telephone conversation with his American counterpart Joe Biden to discuss the security situation around Ukraine and the prospects for intensifying the peaceful settlement in Donbas.

It is reported that Zelensky will meet Macron on December 15 in Brussels.

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