By Staff, Agencies British Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace, has called for de-escalation of tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine, saying war would fuel greater instability, higher fuel prices and migrant flows. Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Wallace said the parties involved “need to de-escalate” and “stand up for the right for sovereignty of Ukraine.” His remarks came ahead of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s planned visit to Moscow on Tuesday for talks with Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
Wallace said it was “important to signal to Putin that the very thing he fears, that is, more NATO close to Russia, would be the consequence of invading Ukraine ...This is why the UK offered NATO more ground forces, more readiness as a deterrent.” Hungarian Defense Minister Tibor Benko, speaking at the same news conference, said there was no need for a deployment of foreign NATO troops in Hungary as the country was able “to perform this task on its own” in its territory.
“If any country is not able to do this on their own, it’s their sovereign right to receive NATO forces,” he asserted.
Hungary enjoys relatively good ties with Russia, notwithstanding boiling tensions between the European military alliance and Moscow over Ukraine.
Orban on Friday said he would push for increase in the amount of gas it receives from Russia during his talks with Putin in Moscow, after Gazprom Export and MVM CEEnergy Ltd.
September last signed long-term contracts for supplies of Russian gas to Hungary.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also slated to travel to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky amid growing hostilities between London and Moscow.
Johnson’s government has threatened tough sanctions against Kremlin officials, in the event of attack or invasion of Ukraine.
According to Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, the British government is set to introduce a new legislation this week to broaden the scope of sanctions against Russia.
Speaking to the House of Commons this week, Truss said her government was “considering options for further deployments of British armed forces to reassure and protect allies on NATO’s eastern flank”.
She said London will consider supplying NATO with more “fast jets, warships and military specialists”.
Western powers accuse Russia of amassing troops near the Ukrainian border to invade the country.
Moscow rejects the allegations and says the deployments are defensive in nature.
Kremlin officials accuse the West of Russiophobia, saying it has no right to lecture Moscow on how to act after it expanded the NATO military alliance eastwards after the fall of the Soviet Union, and sowed seeds of chaos and mayhem in Iraq and Syria.
Russia has repeatedly reiterated that the expansion of NATO military infrastructure in Ukraine is a red line for Moscow and that any future expansion must exclude Ukraine and other former Soviet countries