Washington and London believe that diplomatic negotiations with Russia remain a “top priority.”
President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed during a telephone conversation on Monday that there remains a “crucial window for diplomacy” in connection with the crisis in Ukraine, the AFP news agency reported, citing Johnson’s office.
The discussion on the crisis in Ukraine took place after U.S. intelligence officials warned that Russia’s invasion could happen in a few days.
“They agreed that there remains a crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to move away from its threats against Ukraine,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
“The leaders stressed that any further invasion of Ukraine would lead to a protracted crisis for Russia with far-reaching consequences both for it and for the whole world,” the British Prime Minister’s press service added.
The two leaders stressed that diplomatic negotiations with Russia remain a “top priority” and welcomed the talks that have already taken place between Russia and NATO allies, Downing Street noted.
“The leaders of the two countries agreed that Western allies should remain united in the face of Russian threats, including the introduction of a significant package of sanctions in the event of an escalation of Russian aggression,” the representative of the British Prime Minister stressed. “They also confirmed the need for European countries to reduce their dependence on Russian gas, and this step, more than any other, will deal a blow to Russia’s strategic interests.”
The White House said the two leaders “reviewed ongoing diplomatic and deterrence efforts in response to Russia’s continued military buildup near Ukraine’s borders and reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“They discussed efforts to strengthen the defensive position on NATO’s eastern flank and stressed the ongoing close coordination between allies and partners, including the readiness to impose serious consequences on Russia if it decides to continue military escalation,” the White House said in a statement.
Earlier on Monday, Johnson called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to step back from the “edge of the abyss,” calling the situation “very, very dangerous.”
The British leader said he had no plans to visit Moscow, but would soon discuss the crisis with “various leaders.”