By John Ikani
The crisis between Russia and Ukraine is at its “most dangerous moment,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Thursday.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Mr Johnson said the coming days were “a very dangerous moment” for European security.
According to him, intelligence on Russia’s troop movements on the Ukrainian border remains “grim”.
Both he and Stoltenberg said the coming days are “a very dangerous moment” for European security.
Specifically, Johnson said this was “the most dangerous moment in what is the biggest security crisis that Europe has faced in decades”.
Meanwhile, the British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, is in Moscow for talks with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov amid continued efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the tensions over Ukraine.
The pair conducted a testy press conference on Thursday, in which Mr Lavrov said speaking with Ms Truss was like a mute person talking to a deaf person. He added: “We appear to be listening but we’re not hearing anything.”
Mr Lavrov also said: “They say Russia’s waiting for the ground to freeze as hard as rock so our tanks can enter Ukraine. That was the ground we found with our British colleagues today – facts bounced right off of it.”
Ms Truss hit back at this characterisation, saying: “I certainly wasn’t mute in our discussions earlier, I put forward the UK’s point of view on the current situation as well as seeking to deter Russia from an invasion of Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, Russia and Belarus on Thursday launched joint military drills scheduled to continue until February 20.
The drills in Belarus would centre around “suppressing and repelling external aggression,” Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement.
Soldiers would practise beefing up sections of the Belarus border to block the delivery of weapons and ammunition into the country, among other scenarios, it said.
The games have exacerbated deeply strained ties between Russia and the West, which accuses Moscow of massing approximately 100,000 troops around the borders of Ukraine for a potential invasion.