Putin & Johnson Discuss Ukraine, Russia's Security Guarantee Proposals

© Sputnik / ALEXEY DRUZHININVladimir Putin speaks by phone (File)
Vladimir Putin speaks by phone (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.02.2022
Speaking to reporters on Monday, the British prime minister promised to give his Russian counterpart a piece of his mind about Ukraine during their call. The conversation was eventually rescheduled to Wednesday, with the Kremlin indicating that President Putin is always ready to talk to anyone, even the "utterly confused."
President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a telephone conversation Wednesday, discussing tensions in Ukraine and Russia's proposals on security guarantees, the Kremlin has announced.
Putin told his interlocutor that NATO had demonstrated a lack of readiness to respond adequately to Russia's legitimate security concerns, and brought to Johnson's attention Kiev's "chronic" efforts to "sabotage" the Minsk Agreements on Ukrainian peace.
On the security proposals issue, Putin pointed to the Western alliance's efforts to "hide behind references to its so-called 'open door policy', which contradicts the fundamental principle of the indivisibility of security," the Kremlin said.
The Kremlin characterised the phone call as "a fairly detailed exchange of views."

Downing Street issued its own statement, saying that 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.

Ahead of the phone call, Johnson promised UK media that he would tell Putin that Russia "needs to step back from the brink" in Ukraine, and warn him that "an invasion of Ukraine, any incursion into Ukraine beyond the territory that Russia has already taken in 2014 would be an absolute disaster for the world, and above all, it would be a disaster for Russia."
Monday's call was cancelled and rescheduled to Wednesday so that Johnson could issue a statement on partygate – the scandal that has been hounding his government for weeks now related to booze-filled holiday parties at Number 10 in 2020 while the rest of the country was put under hard Covid lockdowns.
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Johnson travelled to Kiev on Tuesday, announcing the delivery of another 88 million pounds in economic aid to the country 'to fight corruption' alongside lethal weaponry to show British solidarity with the Ukrainian government. In a video put out by his office on Wednesday, the prime minister accused Russia of "threatening" Ukraine with "about 125,000 troops" on the border and pointed to what he said was "the very, very real prospect of an imminent invasion, incursion into more sovereign Ukrainian territory."
Johnson warned that the UK was "working together with our friends and partners to provide a very, very tough package of economic sanctions that would apply instantly the moment the first toecap of a Russian soldier intrudes upon more sovereign Ukrainian territory."
Ahead of Wednesday's call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said that President Putin was always prepared to explain the situation in Eastern Europe, "even to someone who is utterly confused."
Separately, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova poked fun at UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss after she vowed that Britain would support "our Baltic allies across the Black Sea" – two different bodies of water. "If anyone needs saving from anything, it's the world, from the stupidity and ignorance of British politicians," Zakharova said in a blog post.
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The crisis in Ukraine began in 2014 when Western-backed political forces backed by ultranationalist gangs overthrew the country's democratically elected government after it tried to opt-out of European integration in favour of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union. The coup in Kiev prompted Crimea to stage a referendum to break off from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, and sparked a civil war in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian army and nationalist battalions on one side and local separatist forces on the other. The civil war was frozen in February 2015 with the signing of the Minsk Agreements, which demanded a ceasefire, a pullback of troops and heavy weapons and changes in Ukraine's constitution to provide heavy autonomy to the breakaway eastern regions.
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