Johnson to visit eastern Europe next week

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Prime Minister Johnson will also hold crisis talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reports Asian Lite News

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going to visit Europe next week to discuss the escalation of tensions on the Ukrainian-Russian border, a source told Sputnik.

“The Prime Minister will continue to spearhead diplomatic efforts on the Ukraine crisis next week, with a call with President [of Russia Vladimir] Putin and a trip to the region in the coming days,” the source said.

Meanwhile, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and diplomats from France, Germany, Italy, and the UK during a phone call discussed written responses to Russia’s proposals on security guarantees and the Normandy format meeting, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a readout on Friday.

“The participants discussed the US and NATO written responses to Russia, the Normandy format meeting held in Paris on January 26, and our ongoing commitment to diplomacy,” Price said. “They agreed on the importance of continued close coordination and unity in the face of Russia’s unprovoked military buildup on Ukraine’s borders and reaffirmed that any further military incursion into Ukraine will be met with swift, severe, and coordinated consequences.”

Participating in Thursday’s call with Sherman were French MFA Secretary-General Francois Delattre, German MFA State Secretary Andreas Michaelis, Italian MFA Secretary General Ettore Sequi, and UK Minister of State for Middle East, North Africa and North America James Cleverly
On Wednesday, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan delivered Washington’s response to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko.

Ukrainian border patrol troops guard the country’s border to Hungary. Photo: -/Ukrinform/dpa/IANS

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that Russia is reviewing the response but stressed that the United States, in its response to Russia’s proposals on security guarantees, left the main question about non-expansion of NATO to the east unanswered.

Moscow published its security suggestions for NATO and the US in late 2021 as tensions flared high around Ukraine. It requested, in particular, guarantees that the alliance would not expand eastward. The US insists it will not allow anyone to slam NATO’s open door policy shut.

Russia-France security guarantees

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron held a phone conversation on Friday to discuss the establishment of long-term and legally binding security guarantees between Russia and the West.

Putin told Macron that Russia will carefully study the written responses from the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Moscow’s draft agreements on security guarantees, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by Kremlin.

Putin stressed that the US and NATO responses did not take into account such fundamental concerns of Russia as stopping NATO’s expansion and refraining from deploying offensive weapons near Russian borders, among others.

French President Emmanuel Macron with Russia counterpart Vladimir Putin

In addition, a key concept was also ignored in the responses, namely the “indivisibility of security” or the principle that no state should strengthen its own security at the expense of the security of others, Putin said.

When discussing the situation in Ukraine, the Russian leader emphasized the importance of Kiev’s strict compliance with the 2015 Minsk Agreements and other deals.

As France presides over the Council of the European Union in the first half of this year, Macron and Putin agreed to continue the French-Russian dialogue on the entire range of European security issues. (ANI/Sputnik/IANS)

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