Kremlin Counters Downing Street Tale on Berlin Meeting of Boris Johnson and Vladimir Putin
Jan. 21, 2020 (EIRNS)—Russia is disputing the British account of the Jan. 19 meeting in Berlin between U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the international conference on Libya in Berlin. “In general, the contact was brief, but, at the same time, quite constructive, with elements of a conciliatory approach, let’s put it that way,” Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters at the Kremlin this morning. He stressed that British reports did not convey the atmosphere of that meeting. “At least, the essence of the contact is clearly different from the essence of Downing Street’s report on the conversation. We can state that,” Peskov said without going into further detail.
Earlier, an unnamed high-ranking source in Moscow told TASS that it was Johnson who had sought out the meeting with Putin and he sounded quite conciliatory during their brief conversation.
“We were surprised by commentaries from Downing Street about a meeting of Johnson and Putin. To begin with, it was Johnson himself who was seeking contact with the Russian side. Secondly, his tone was closer to conciliatory, there were no harsh statements whatsoever. Thirdly, the main message of the British Prime Minister was a bid to improve relations with Russia,”
the source said.
On Jan. 19, the day of the meeting, the British Prime Minister’s office posted a statement which claimed that Johnson told Putin that “there will be no normalization of our bilateral relationship until Russia ends the destabilizing activity that threatens the U.K. and our allies and undermines the safety of our citizens and our collective security.” On the same day, the Kremlin reported, “Vladimir Putin met with Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen during a recess in the talks. The discussion focused on bilateral issues and international problems, including the Libya settlement.”