Prime Minister’s call with European Commission President von der Leyen

Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this afternoon.

The pair discussed the grave situation on the Ukrainian border, and agreed that the world needed to remain vigilant in the coming hours and days.

The Prime Minister thanked President von der Leyen for her close cooperation on sanctions to date, and said that the UK and the EU should continue to work with allies to prepare a package of economic measures that would punish Russia if they breached Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Mr Johnson said he welcomed the unity of allies, but said more could be done to strengthen coordinated measures at pace.

This morning satellite imagery and video footage showed Russian tanks being loaded onto railway flatcars and troops marching back to their barracks.

This retreat by President Putin has raised hopes the break out of conflict will be avoided but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned “the world needs to remain vigilant in the coming hours and days.”

Despite the start of an apparent pullback, thousands of Russian troops still remain stationed at the Ukraine border.

The British PM has urged European nations to end their dependence on Russia gas via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. He said:

“What I think all European countries need to do now is get Nord Stream out of the bloodstream.

“Yank out that hypodermic drip feed of Russian hydrocarbons that is keeping so many European economies going.”

The Prime Minister and President Ursula von der Leyen also spoke about the growing issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol, and the need to take action to safeguard the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions.

The two leaders agreed to stay in touch on both matters.

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