Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has today met with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, and Emmanuel Macron, the French President, during the Libya conference currently being held in Berlin.
On the meeting with Macron, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said:
“The Prime Minister met President Macron in the margins of the Berlin Conference on Libya. The Prime Minister and President discussed the ongoing conflict in Libya. The Prime Minister stressed the need to bring an end to the fighting and for all parties to support peace talks to determine a way forward for the Libyan people.
On Iran, the leaders reiterated their commitment to the JCPoA and also acknowledged the need to define a long-term framework to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. They agreed on the importance of de-escalation and of working with international partners to find a diplomatic way through the current tensions.”
The spokesperson added with regards to the Russian meeting:
“The Prime Minister met President Putin in the margins of the Berlin Conference on Libya.
He was clear there had been no change in the UK’s position on Salisbury, which was a reckless use of chemical weapons and a brazen attempt to murder innocent people on UK soil. He said that such an attack must not be repeated.
The Prime Minister said that they both had a responsibility to address issues of international security including Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran. The Prime Minister said there will be no normalisation of our bilateral relationship until Russia ends the destabilising activity that threatens the UK and our allies and undermines the safety of our citizens and our collective security.”
Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has said that the British Government welcomes moves by the European Union, Australia, Canada and the United States against Russian aggression in Ukraine. There will also be EU sanctions imposed against a number of Russian individuals in an attempt to put pressure on Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.
Hunt said in a statement:
“Today, the UK and our international partners in the EU, Australia, Canada and the US have sent an unequivocal message to Russia that their attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait and Black Sea last year was absolutely unacceptable. These sanctions are another example of the international community standing up to Russia as it persistently violates international law. We will continue to take necessary action together in response to Russia’s efforts to destabilise Ukraine.
Russia must immediately release the 24 detained servicemen and return the seized vessels. We remain deeply concerned for the safety and welfare of the servicemen who are unjustly held in Russian custody. Russia must allow free and unhindered passage of Ukrainian and international ships through the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. We, with our international partners, stand with Ukraine in opposing Russia’s ongoing efforts to undermine Ukrainian security, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has issued a statement on Twitter following an explosion on the St. Petersburg metro system. Ten people were killed when travelling on a metro train between the stations of Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologichesky Institut, with over thirty more people injured.
Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian Prime Minister, said that the explosion had “been caused by a terrorist attack”. Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, had been in the city earlier in the day, and his spokesman said that the incident would be fully investigated.
Johnson wrote on Twitter:
“Horrified by news of explosion in St Petersburg. My sympathies are with the victims and their families”.
“There is a strong probability that they were acting under the direction of the Russian domestic security service – the Federal Security Service or FSB. And the Inquiry has found that the FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr Patrushev, the then head of the FSB, and by President Putin”.
“In particular, the conclusion that the Russian state was probably involved in the murder of Mr Litvinenko is deeply disturbing. It goes without saying that this was a blatant and unacceptable breach of the most fundamental tenets of international law and of civilised behaviour. But we have to accept this does not come as a surprise. The Inquiry confirms the assessment of successive governments that this was a state sponsored act”.
A spokesman for Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, rejected the allegations saying that they were “not transparent, not objective or unbiased”.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has condemned the assassination in Moscow of Boris Nemtsov who was a former Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. Nemtsov was killed on a public road and was known as a critic of Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.
David Cameron said in a statement:
“I am shocked and sickened by the callous murder of Boris Nemtsov as he walked in the heart of Moscow last night. This despicable act must be fully, rapidly and transparently investigated, and those responsible brought to justice.
Boris Nemtsov was a man of courage and conviction. His life was dedicated to speaking up tirelessly for the Russian people, to demanding their right to democracy and liberty under the rule of law, and to an end to corruption. He did so without fear, and never gave in to intimidation. He was greatly admired in Britain, not least by his friend Lady Thatcher, who visited him in Russia and who would have been appalled by today’s news. The courage of Nemtsov’s life contrasts with the utter cowardice of his murder.
I extend my condolences to Boris Nemtsov’s family and friends. The Russian people have been deprived of a champion of their rights. Boris Nemtsov is dead. But the values he stood for will never die.”
Nemtsov had given a radio interview just hours before his death which some are saying is linked to the leadership of the increasing controversial Vladimir Putin.