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Wed, 21 October 2020

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Boris Johnson tells Vladimir Putin no thaw in UK-Russia relations after Salisbury attack

Boris Johnson tells Vladimir Putin no thaw in UK-Russia relations after Salisbury attack
2 min read

Boris Johnson has warned Vladimir Putin that there will be no thaw in UK-Russian relations in the wake of the Salisbury chemical attack.

In the leaders’ first face-to-face meeting, Mr Johnson told the Russian President that there would be “no normalisation” of relations between their countries.

Downing Street said President Putin was told that Russia must end “the destabilising activity that threatens the UK and our allies and undermines the safety of our citizens and our collective security".

A spokesperson described the meeting as “terse” and said the Prime Minister was clear that there had been “no change” in the UK’s stance since former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with the deadly nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in March, 2018. 

One member of the public died after coming into contact with the poison, and two further people were hospitalised.

Mr Johnson labelled the attack a “brazen attempt to murder innocent people” on UK soil in his meeting with the Russian leader.

The incident resulted in the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the UK, with over 150 diplomats in total being expelled by nations worldwide.

The leaders’ discussed the incident at a summit in Berlin during which Mr Johnson announced Britain would support a ceasefire in Libya.

Russia is backing the forces of the military commander Khalifa Haftar who is seeking to overthrow the UN and Turkish-backed government in Tripoli.

Mr Johnson said: “If there is a ceasefire, yes of course, there's a case for us doing what we do very well which is sending experts to monitor the ceasefire.”

World powers including Russia, Turkey and the EU all agreed to respect the ongoing arms embargo and “refrain from interference” in the region.

The PM reportedly told Mr Putin that they “both had a responsibility to address issues of international security”.

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