Few signs that Ukraine and Russia are close to a peace deal, British sources say

Boris Johnson talked about his “horror” at the rising brutality of Russia’s tactics in its invasion of Ukraine during a call with Western leaders.

It came when British sources sowed doubts about the prospects for possible meaningful progress in the peace negotiationsquotes President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskys ongoing requests for more defensive weapons against the Russians.

The Ukrainian leader has insisted he is willing to talk to Moscow in an attempt to end the war, but has ruled out certain compromises on the country’s “territorial integrity and our sovereignty”.

There are serious doubts about Vladimir Putin’s intentions and whether he would abide by the terms of a peace deal.

British sources with knowledge of the talks between Boris Johnson and Mr Zelensky said there had been very little indication that the Ukrainian president was hoping for a breakthrough with Russia.

“Every call between the two starts with Zelensky stating what he needs in terms of defensive lethal assistance, and that has not changed, which is telling with regard to any hope of peace talks,” the senior government source said.

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Johnson held talks with leaders of the United States, France, Germany and Italy on Monday night, agreeing to continue supporting Ukraine “militarily, diplomatically and economically”.

According to a No. 10 reading of the call, the prime minister “underlined his horror at President Putin’s use of increasingly brutal tactics in Ukraine, such as siege wars and attacks on civilians.”

He also welcomed the unity of Western allies, adding that “effective collective action has been to undermine Putin’s war machine”.

In a call lasting just under an hour, the leaders also underwent diplomatic efforts to support Kiev in reaching a ceasefire.

Johnson is on his way to a meeting with other world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, at NATO in Brussels this week, where he is expected to push further on the issue for more support for the Ukrainians.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said Mr Johnson would use the meeting to call for greater support for defensive lethal assistance, ongoing diplomacy work and sanctions.

“In all these areas, President Zelensky is keen to keep up the pressure, and it is something that the Prime Minister is absolutely committed to, whether it continues with sanctions, to provide additional defensive lethal assistance, all to strengthen the position of the Ukrainians,” when they continue the negotiations.The Prime Minister will pass on what they have discussed when he speaks to world leaders, the spokesman said.

Johnson on Monday discussed the idea of ​​a “Ukraine Solidarity Fund” with European Council leader Charles Michel to further support the country, with the proposals expected to be discussed at the G7 meeting.

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