By Claire Gordon • 29 January 2022 • 9:48
Boris Johnson is to step up his presence in the Russia-Ukraine crisis by holding a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting the region “in the coming days”. The PM is looking to “ramp up deterrence to avoid bloodshed” between the two former Soviet states and is determined to “accelerate diplomatic efforts” during the trip, a Downing Street spokeswoman said.
“He will reiterate the need for Russia to step back and engage diplomatically when he speaks to President Putin this week,” she added.
US President Joe Biden has revealed plans to move US troops into Eastern Europe and NATO countries in the near future, but has admitted the number would be “not a lot”.
The Pentagon has placed about 8,500 US troops on standby for possible deployment to Europe, while Vladimir Putin has amassed a force of around 100,000 Russian troops to its border with Ukraine.
During a high-level intelligence meeting last week, Mr Johnson asked defence and security chiefs to consider further military options in Europe. This weekend, he will consider a range of options to alleviate Russian aggression in the region, including further deployments and bolstering NATO’s defences.
Tougher sanctions are expected to be announced by the Foreign Office on Monday, allowing the UK to target Russia’s strategic and financial interests, as reported by Sky News.
Russia’s foreign minister has said Liz Truss had “agreed a date” to head to Moscow within the next two weeks. Last week, she declassified intelligence that suggested Vladimir Putin was plotting to install a pro-Moscow leader as head of Ukraine’s government.
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