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Kremlin Says No Putin-Johnson Talks Planned on Tuesday as Monday Call Was Cancelled Amid 'Partygate'

© Sputnik / Aleksey Nikolskyi / Go to the mediabankBritain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Russian President Vladimir Putin speak during a meeting on the sidelines of an international peace conference on Libya in Berlin, Germany
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Russian President Vladimir Putin speak during a meeting on the sidelines of an international peace conference on Libya in Berlin, Germany - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.02.2022
On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that he will speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin as soon as he can amid reports that the pair's phone conversation had been cancelled. The cancellation was reportedly caused by a Met Police probe into the alleged lockdown-breaking parties held at Number 10 in 2020 and 2021.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson are not scheduled to hold a conversation on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
"No conversation is scheduled for today. If you have noticed, we have not announced any phone [conversation] between Putin and Johnson, but at the same time, we do not rule out that some dates will be agreed upon. Then, based on the results of the conversation, if it takes place, we will inform you", Peskov told reporters.
UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has, meanwhile, tried to downplay the cancellation of the phone call between Putin and Johnson.

"Any prime minister, any president, it happens all the time – their diaries and their call sheets dart around the place because they're balancing things", Raab told Sky News on Tuesday.

Johnson's spokesperson, in turn, told reporters that the Putin-Johnson phone call would take place on Wednesday.

Missed 'Diplomatic Opportunity'

Raab spoke after UK Labour lawmaker and shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy argued on Monday that Johnson had missed a "vital diplomatic opportunity" when he rescheduled the call with Putin.
Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, points her finger while joking with a photographer before testifying during a Senate Foreign Relations hearing to examine U.S.-Russia policy at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. (Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via AP, Pool) - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.01.2022
US Prepared 18 Response Scenarios in Case of 'Russian Invasion' of Ukraine, Victoria Nuland Says
The cancellation was purportedly prompted by a Met Police probe into the "partygate" scandal, a series of alleged COVID rule-breaking Downing Street parties held in 2020 and 2021.
Earlier on Monday, Johnson said that he plans to tell Putin that "we [the sides] really all need to step back from the brink", and that a Russian "invasion" of Ukraine would be an "absolute disaster for the world".
Russia has repeatedly rejected allegations by Western media outlets that it is preparing to invade Ukraine. Moscow says that it has the right to move the nation's troops within its own territory and is not threatening anyone, dismissing the West's claims to the contrary as a pretext for NATO's increased activity near Russia's borders.
In a separate development on Monday, Peskov stated that London's plans to target Russia with sanctions are not legitimate, slamming the threats as "an attack on businesses". According to the Kremlin spokesman, any such move by London will bring countermeasures from Moscow to protect Russia's national interests.
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