‘Engage But Beware’: UK Foreign Minister Announces UK’s Policy on Russia
Sputnik / Alexei FilippovEurope14:56 15.05.2018(updated 15:02 15.05.2018) Get short URL132
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson has addressed a number of issues during a questions session in the UK Parliament on May 15 – among them inquiries on UK’s relations with Russia.
When asked by the members of the parliament about what recent assessment has been made of the UK’s diplomatic relations with Russia, Mr. Johnson said that the “expulsion of operatives” following the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in the UK was about a “handful massive net loss for Russia and significant gain to the UK.”
“We remain committed to a policy of engaging with Russia but of course [we’re] beware of what they do,” Johnson told the MPs.
READ MORE: Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case
Gregory Campbell, member of the Democratic Unionist Party, asked the Foreign Minister whether the diplomatic relations with Russia are likely to change in the nearest future. Johnson summed up Britain’s policy on Russia to be “engage but beware.”
“We’ll continue — when necessary — to engage with Russia diplomatically, culturally across the field. But relations are currently difficult.”
Another member of the parliament posed the question on anti-Russia sanctions.
“Despite the fact that Ireland gas exports make up 70% of Russia’s international trade, these are not currently covered under the EU sanctions regime due to the high reliance of the EU on Russia’s gas exports. After out exit from the European Union, would this be the extra sensible measure that we might take that might assist with our diplomatic efforts?” the MP asked.
Mr. Johnson replied saying that Britain would “of course consider all possibilities once we exit he EU and take back control over our sanctions policy.”
A Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan spoke about the upcoming World Cup football championship in Russia, asking the Foreign Minister, whether the British fans will be safe while attending the games.
“It is absolutely vital that fans who are preparing to go to Russia for the World Cup — that we are not actively trying to disway them. We don’t think that would be right,” Johnson replied.
He added that “it’s up to the Russians” and “on their honor to guarantee the safety, not just of British fans but of fans from around the world.”
READ MORE: Boris Johnson Urges Football Fans to Obey Russian Laws During FIFA World Cup
Another MP discussed the proposed Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, calling it a “political project designed to increase European dependence on Russian gas to weaken Ukraine.” He then inquired whether Boris Johnson will press this matter with Germany and Denmark.
In turn, the Foreign Secretary shortly stated that the UK government raises the matter with its European partners.
READ MORE: ‘Beyond Logic’: Russian Ambassador Puzzled By EU Attempt to Govern Nord Stream 2