British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is poised to visit the Ukraine region and hold a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin against the backdrop of an imminent invasion threat to Ukraine. 

As per government sources, reported by The Guardian, Johnson is determined to ramp up diplomatic efforts and increase deterrence to avoid bloodshed. A Downing Street spokesperson said, “He will reiterate the need for Russia to step back and engage diplomatically when he speaks to president Putin this week.”  

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His decision comes after having asked the security and defence chiefs of the country to consider other defensive military options in Europe, to deter Russian aggression. Johnson plans to use various moves at his disposal, including deploying more troops to bolster NATO’s show of strength in eastern Europe. Strategic and financial targeting is also a possibility for Johnson’s government, but American diplomats have expressed concern that it wouldn’t be very effective, due to the sheer amount of Russian money in the English capital. 

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Though the situation at the Ukraine border is growing tenser, with more troop buildup, Moscow has denied any plans of invading. They’ve accused the NATO countries of creating hysteria against the Putin-led government. Even Ukraine has urged citizens to remain calm, saying there’s no evidence of an immediate invasion. 

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Moscow has locked horns with NATO, asking them to block Ukraine’s entry into the organization, while also urging a reduction of NATO’s military presence in eastern Europe. The US, which heads NATO, has rejected this proposal but is engaged in diplomatic talks with Russia, in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. 

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Johnson’s planned visit and phone call is a step in the same direction, but many will note that his travel comes at a time when the Prime Minister is embattled at home as the Gray report is on the cusp of being published. The document prepared by the senior government official of the same name compiles a list of parties that took place at Downing Street, during the COVID-19 lockdowns in England. PM Johnson’s own birthday party is among them. The parties could signal Johnson’s downfall as the PM, with Scotland Yard investigating the matter and Tory MPs also calling for Johnson’s resignation