UK prime minister Boris Johnson has stressed that there can be no return to a “normal” relationship with the Kremlin as the invasion of Ukraine continues to wreak devastation.
His remarks came as Finland, a nation with Russia on a more than 800-mile border, announced its intention to join NATO.
Quizzed by LBC Radio earlier today over whether Vladimir Putin could be received on international stage if he were to express or demonstrate contrition for the war, Johnson said: “Repentance is going to be very difficult for Vladimir Putin now … nothing is impossible, I suppose, but I just cannot see for the life of me how we can renormalise relations with Putin now.”
“The world basically said, this is appalling,” he said in reference to the 2014 annexation of Crimea, going on:” We condemn it, we denounce it — and we did. We put on sanctions. But at the same time, we kind of opened negotiations with him about a way forward.”
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“And Putin basically used that as a way of twisting the knife in Ukraine,” he went on.”
He said that: “If the Ukrainians were to do any kind of deal with Putin now, the risk is that he would do exactly the same thing and they know it. The short answer to this question is no. No renormalisation and the UK is very clear about that.”
“Finland must apply for Nato membership without delay,” Finnish president Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement yesterday evening. “We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”
Reports also suggest that Sweden could apply for membership to the treaty organization.
The two countries moves toward the defence pact follow a ramping up of cooperation with Nato since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea, and mark a profound shift in policy.