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1 Feb, 2022 23:58

Boris Johnson reveals new date for call with Putin

The UK PM missed a scheduled call with the Russian president on Monday
Boris Johnson reveals new date for call with Putin

Boris Johnson’s spokesman said the British Prime Minister will speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone on Wednesday, after he missed a scheduled call as he defended himself from a domestic scandal in Parliament. The Kremlin has yet to confirm if the call has indeed been rescheduled.

Johnson spoke to reporters after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, telling them the UK believes Ukraine faces “a clear and present danger” of a Russian invasion, something Moscow denies and Zelensky himself has attempted to tamp down in recent days.

Johnson missed Monday’s call, which was scheduled for 4pm, as he remained in Parliament to defend his conduct to MPs following the publication of a report on the Partygate scandal, involving a series of restriction-defying social gatherings at the prime minister’s residence during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Even in Kiev, reporters harangued Johnson over Partygate, despite the PM’s attempts to focus attention on the crisis in Ukraine. Johnson accused Putin of attempting to undermine democracy and establish a Russian zone of influence in Eastern Europe, claiming that Putin will one day threaten “Georgia and Moldova and other countries.”

In recent months, Ukrainian and Western officials have repeatedly voiced concerns about the prospect of an imminent invasion, citing reports that Moscow was amassing troops and hardware near the shared border. The Kremlin has consistently denied the accusations as groundless hysteria, arguing that the movement of its armed forces within its own territory is an internal matter and of no concern to anyone else. At the same time, Putin warned on Tuesday that the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO poses a threat to European security, as it creates the grounds for a major conflict between Moscow and the military bloc.