By Thanasis Gavos
The United Kingdom’s Secretary of Defense, Ben Wallace, is in Moscow for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu as part of a diplomatic effort to defuse tensions on Ukraine’s borders.
This is the first visit by a British Secretary of Defense to Russia since 2001.
Asked what he hoped to achieve with the trip, Wallace said he would ask for an end to the concentration of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine, for de-escalation and to prevent a Russian invasion, while stressing that the West would implement the warnings of heavy sanctions against Russia if an invasion actually takes place.
He commented that Mr. Shoigu is in President Putin’s closest circle and can have an influence on him, as well as General Gerasimov, who will also be present at the meeting. Similarly, Wallace is accompanied by Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces, who said he wanted a mutually respectful discussion on the concerns of each side.
Mr Wallace’s visit comes a day after meeting in Moscow in a very cold climate of the British Ministry. Foreign Liz Tras with her counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who stated in the joint press conference that their discussion was like a conversation between deaf people.
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