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Putin offers Boris talks on stopping NATO spread

Moscow floated the notion last week of a legally binding treaty offering firm security guarantees that NATO would not expand any further east, or emplace offensive weapons in member countries bordering Russia. Putin informed Johnson in the phone call on Monday that Russia is preparing draft documents to that effect already, and that negotiations need to begin “immediately.”

Pointing out that Johnson brought up the issue of “alleged large-scale movement of Russian troops along the Ukrainian borders,” the Kremlin’s readout of the call noted that Putin responded with “specific examples of Kiev’s destructive line on the disruption of the Minsk agreements,” which the Russian leader called “an uncontested basis for resolving the internal Ukrainian crisis.”

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Ukrainian authorities are “purposefully exacerbating” the situation in the two breakaway regions in the east, using heavy weapons and attack drones, while discriminating against the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine, Putin added.

His comments came after Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said NATO will face “dire consequences” if it continues to threaten Russian security. 

“Lack of progress towards a political and diplomatic solution to this problem will lead to our response being military and technological,” Ryabkov told the newspaper Izvestiya in an interview published on Monday.

The readout provided by 10 Downing Street said Johnson “reiterated the importance of working through diplomatic channels to de-escalate tensions and identify durable solutions.” The British PM also “emphasized the UK’s commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and warned that any destabilizing action would be a strategic mistake that would have significant consequences.”

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