12:38 GMT12 July 2020
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    The cancellation of UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit to Russia is an attempted demarche, a senior Russian parliamentarian told Sputnik on Saturday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, Johnson announced in a statement published on the UK government official website that he had canceled his visit to Moscow, scheduled for April 10, due to the recent developments in Syria. Johnson added that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would convey the joint Western position on Syria during his visit to Russia, set for next week.

    Kosachev stressed that the situation in Syria had not changed during the preparations for Johnson’s visit, and if Johnson meant chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib under "recent developments" – no one linked this incident with Moscow.

    "It is a clumsy attempted demarche, which is ridiculous in terms of big diplomacy," Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the upper house of the Russian parliament's international affairs committee, said.

    The parliamentarian added that "serious politicians" do not act like this.

    "As for the [Johnson’s] words that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will deliver a coordinated position on Syria to Russia, thereby Boris Johnson confirms that the United Kingdom does not consider itself an independent power," Kosachev emphasized.

    Earlier in the day, chairman of the Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky said that the cancellation of Johnson’s visit would not have a negative impact on the bilateral relations, as "they already are at quite a low level."

    On Thursday night, the United States carried out a missile attack on Ash Sha’irat, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Homs, claiming, with no evidence provided, that the chemical attack on Syria's Idlib was allegedly launched from that airfield. Following the strike, UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations Matthew Rycroft said in a statement that the United Kingdom supported those actions by the US military. In contrast, the attack was sharply criticized by Russia.


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