Thu, 19 May 2022

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to visit Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in February, Russia's TASS news agency reported, citing sources in the Foreign Ministry.

TASS on January 22 quoted the ministry source as saying that 'the British foreign minister has asked for the opportunity to travel to Moscow,' and that the visit had been approved.

There was no immediate reaction from London.

The proposed visit would be the first by a British foreign secretary to Moscow since December 2017.

The initiative comes at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and the West over Russia's military buildup along its border with Ukraine and Moscow's demands for curbs on NATO's activity in countries of the former Soviet Union.

In a speech in Australia on January 21, Truss warned Russian President Vladimir Putin to 'desist and step back from Ukraine before he makes a massive strategic mistake.'

She said an invasion of Ukraine would 'only lead to a terrible quagmire and loss of life.'

The proposed visit also comes against a background of bilateral tensions between the United Kingdom and Russia following the 2006 fatal radiation poisoning in London of former Russian security officer Aleksandr Litvinenko and the 2018 attempted assassination in Salisbury of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal using a Soviet-developed nerve agent.

The British government has blamed Russia for carrying out both attacks, accusations that Moscow denies.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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