More than a month after Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin has signalled it is willing to step down some military operations. Bor
More than a month after Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin has signalled it is willing to step down some military operations. Boris Johnson said that Russia will be judged by its “actions”, “not words”. Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin announced on Tuesday, March 29, that the country’s forces will step down their activity around Ukraine’s capital Kyiv in a bid to improve the chance of success in future peace talks.
Quoted by Max Seddon of the Financial Times in a post on Twitter, he said Moscow had decided to “fundamentally cut back military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernigiv”, the latter being a city in northern Ukraine.
This, he added, was in order to “increase mutual trust for future negotiations to agree and sign a peace deal with Ukraine”.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman later stressed “we will judge Putin and his regime by his actions, not by his words”, signalling any praise will be held back until forces can be seen withdrawing from their current positions.
He also told reporters Moscow’s decision may well have been taken out of necessity rather than due to the desire for peace.
The spokesperson said: “There has been some reduction in Russian bombardment around Kyiv, largely because Ukrainian forces have been successfully pushing back the Russian offensives in the northwest of the city.”
Stating the Prime Minister’s position, he went on to stress any minor withdrawal was a step in the right direction but did not go far enough.
The UK, he added, would not accept “anything less” than a full withdrawal of troops.
Mr Johnson’s spokesperson highlighted: “Fighting continues. There’s heavy bombardment in Mariupol and other areas.
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The UK Government’s commitment to accepting nothing less than Russia’s “complete withdrawal” has been received well by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Asked this weekend by the Economist whether Mr Johnson had been more keen to send weapons to Ukraine than French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Zelensky replied: “Yes.”
He said: “To be honest, Johnson is a leader who is helping more.
“The leaders of countries react according to how their constituents act. In this case, Johnson is an example.”
After this, Mr Johnson confirmed in a post on Twitter “the UK will continue to step up our efforts to help Ukraine defend itself from aggression”.
He is in close talks with Mr Zelensky, while others – Mr Macron in particular – are conversing regularly with Putin in an attempt to bring closer the possibility of peace.