UK's Johnson Downbeat On Ties With Russia Under Putin

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UK's Johnson downbeat on ties with Russia under Putin

UK leadership race frontrunner Boris Johnson voiced pessimism Friday about mending ties with Russia as long as President Vladimir Putin remains in power

London, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 28th Jun, 2019 ) :UK leadership race frontrunner Boris Johnson voiced pessimism Friday about mending ties with Russia as long as President Vladimir Putin remains in power.

The former foreign minister's comments came as outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May told Putin on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Japan that relations will not be restored until Moscow ends its "irresponsible and destabilizing" activity.

Contacts between Moscow and London have been frozen since former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was poisoned with a nerve agent in England last year.

Reacting to remarks about the supposed death of liberal values made by Putin in a Financial Times interview published on the eve of the G20 summit, Johnson dismissed the Russian leader's view as "totally wrong".

"Putin is not Russia," he said.

"There is a young generation of Russians who are going to want to listen to a new message, and who are going to want to engage in a different way." He spoke in an address to a group of Conservatives who will be voting to choose May's successor as prime minister in next month's party leadership race.

Britain blames the Skripal attack on two Russian military intelligence agents working on the orders of the Kremlin.

Putin denies Russia's involvement in the case.

Johnson called the Skripal incident his biggest "disappointment" during his time as Britain's top diplomat.

Johnson visited Moscow as foreign secretary in December 2017 for talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

The Moscow meeting featured a frosty press conference during which Johnson admitted that "things aren't easy between us".

"I was very optimistic. I went to Moscow in defiance of a lot of advice, I tried to build a new friendship and a new partnership and it just isn't there," he said on Friday.

Johnson is standing for the Conservative leadership against current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Whoever becomes the new Conservative Party leader will replace May as prime minister in a month.