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BoJo to Talk to Allies Amid Russian 'Invasion' Claims to Bring Moscow 'Back From the Brink'

© AFP 2023 / DANIEL LEALBritain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as he arrives at the Brussels' military airport following his meeting with NATO Secretary General, and prior to take off for Warsaw, on February 10, 2022
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as he arrives at the Brussels' military airport following his meeting with NATO Secretary General, and prior to take off for Warsaw, on February 10, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.02.2022
Moscow has repeatedly rejected allegations by the West that it plans to invade Ukraine as unfounded, stressing they are being used as a pretext to justify NATO's increasing military presence near Russia's borders.
A Downing Street spokesperson has announced that Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to sit down for further talks with world leaders amid allegations about Russia's planned "invasion" of Ukraine.
The spokesperson said in a statement that the PM will travel around the continent towards the end of this week, but they kept mum on which world leaders Johnson was hoping to talk to or where he will go. There were previous reports, though, that he is set to engage with Nordic and Baltic countries.
The statement said that "the crisis on Ukraine's border has reached a critical juncture" and that "all the information" the UK government has "suggests Russia could be planning an invasion of Ukraine at any moment", something that Number 10 argued "would have disastrous consequences for both Ukraine and Russia".

"There is still a window of opportunity for de-escalation and diplomacy, and the prime minister will continue to work tirelessly alongside our allies to get Russia to step back from the brink", the spokesperson added.

Earlier this month, Western media outlets, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, cited unnamed US officials as claiming that Moscow "could invade Ukraine within days" and stating that the latter may cause 50,000 civilian deaths in the country. Russia's First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy was quick to respond by tweeting that "madness and scaremongering continues".

"[…] What if we would say that [the] US could seize London in a week and cause 300K civilian deaths? All this based on our intelligence sources that we won't disclose. Would it feel right for Americans and Britts [sic]? It's as wrong for Russians and Ukrainians", Polyanskiy tweeted.

The remarks came after Johnson discussed the situation around Ukraine in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier this month, with the two agreeing that interaction with Russia is necessary.
"The leaders agreed on the importance of dialogue with Russia. They resolved to use all diplomatic channels available to bring an end to the current tensions", a Downing Street spokesperson said at the time.
In a separate development earlier this month, Johnson held phone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss tensions in Ukraine and Moscow's proposals on security guarantees. Downing Street said in a statement at the time that during the telephone conversation, Putin and Johnson agreed that an aggravation of the situation in Ukraine was not in anyone's interest and that a "peaceful resolution" of the tensions was desirable.

The issue was discussed between the Russian president and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who told reporters after their talks that his meeting with Putin helped to avoid an escalation over Ukraine and that a dialogue between the EU and Russia is needed. A French government source was also cited by the media as saying that Paris sees "no indication in what President Putin says that he is going to go on the offensive" in Ukraine.

Western media outlets have been speculating that the purported Russian "invasion" of Ukraine could take place either on 15 or 16 February, with Politico earlier reporting that US President Joe Biden told allies that Russia may invade Ukraine on 16 February.
Addressing the unsubstantiated claims, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov warned Washington against fuelling the "hysteria" about Moscow's "imminent invasion" of Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, underlined that the "propaganda campaign" about "Russian aggression" against Ukraine has provocative purposes, and encourages "the authorities in Kiev to sabotage the Minsk agreements and pernicious attempts to resolve the 'Donbass problems' by force". The statement was made amid evacuations by the US and its allies of embassy staff from Ukraine as tensions in the region persist.
Russia on Saturday said that it had recalled some of its diplomatic staff from Ukraine "to ensure the safety of our [Russian] diplomats in Ukraine, as well as their protection from possible provocations by the Kiev regime or from third countries", according to Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko.
The prime minister's forthcoming negotiations with his international counterparts also come as he faces a no-confidence vote over a number of alleged COVID lockdown-breaking parties held at Downing Street in 2020 and 2021 and still being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
Johnson on Friday received a legal questionnaire from the police which could see him being fined if he is found to have broken the law. The document is due to be returned to law enforcement within the next seven days.
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