Russian President Vladimir Putin “must not be allowed to rewrite the rules” of international relations, the British prime minister said on Tuesday.
Boris Johnson’s remarks came at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, according to his official spokesman.
Johnson said the UK is “doing everything possible to support the Ukrainian people in the face of a disinformation campaign from Russia aimed at undermining its sovereign neighbor.”
“The UK remains open to further talks with Russia,” he added.
He also said that Putin “must not be allowed to rewrite the rules and that as a free democracy must continue to be allowed to aspire to NATO membership.”
Johnson’s comment came a day after the country’s Secretary of Defence Ben Wallace said the UK has supplied Ukraine light defensive weapon systems and military training amid the military build-up by Russia on Ukrainian border.
“There is a small infantry training team deploying to assist the Ukrainian armed forces to become familiar with the defensive systems we are providing and ensure they are able to use them as soon as possible,” Johnson’s spokesman said.
“Operation Orbital, our training deployment in Ukraine, has a routine commitment of around 100 personnel – that will fluctuate depending on the type of training taking place.”
In a separate development, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “Russia and all the NATO allies to attend a series of meetings in the NATO-Russia Council in the near future, to address our concerns, but also listen to Russia’s concerns, and to try to find a way forward to prevent any military attack against Ukraine.”
Russia, Ukraine and NATO have stepped up military exercises as tensions have intensified in recent weeks, with Kyiv openly accusing Moscow of planning an invasion.
Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014, with Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.
According to the UN, fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region has seen more than 13,000 people killed since 2014.
The region is one of several sources of friction between Russia and Ukraine.
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