British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that invading Ukraine would be a “tragic mistake,” according to a Downing Street spokesperson.
The spokesperson said in a statement that Johnson, in a telephone call, expressed his “deep concern” about Russia’s “current hostile activity” on Ukraine’s border.
He urged finding a way forward that respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity and right to self-defense.
“The Prime Minister stressed that any further Russian incursion into Ukrainian territory would be a tragic miscalculation,” according to the spokesperson. “The Prime Minister underscored that, under NATO’s open door policy, all European democracies have a right to aspire to NATO membership. This right fully applies to Ukraine. He also reiterated that NATO is a defensive alliance.”
The leaders agreed that aggravation was in no one’s interest, with Johnson stressing the importance of diplomacy and the need to include Ukraine in talks.
Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a conflict since hostilities in the Donbas region broke out in 2014 after Russia illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula.
Russia has also recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against the former Soviet republic.
Moscow has denied it is preparing to invade and said its troops are there for exercises.
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