Boris Johnson declares ‘NO-ONE is fooled’ by Russia denial and issues Putin stark warning

Boris Johnson declares ‘NO-ONE is fooled’ by Russia denial and issues Putin stark warning

The Foreign Secretary explained that during a meeting in Brussels over the weekend, he was “struck” by the fact that no county was “fooled” by Vladimir Putin’s denial and that “most” had felt the impact of aggressive Russian behaviour.

He stated: “When I met my European counterparts in Brussels yesterday, what struck me most is that no-one is fooled.

“Just about every country represented around the table had been affected by malign or disruptive Russian behaviour.

“Most had endured the kind of mendacious propaganda onslaught that the UK is experiencing today.”

Mr Johnson then grilled the Russian leader for “banning” his opponent during Sunday’s election and emphasised that Mr Putin is “taking Russia in a dangerous direction”.

The Foreign Secretary wrote: “To understand why three people lie stricken in Salisbury, look at Vladimir Putin’s actions inside Russia.

“Yesterday he was proclaimed the winner of an election that resembled a coronation, complete with a triumphant ceremony outside the walls of the Kremlin.

“Mr Putin’s leading opponent had obviously been banned from standing and an abundance of CCTV footage appeared to show election officials nonchalantly stuffing ballot boxes.

“As he extends his grip on power, Mr Putin is taking his country in a dangerous direction.

“Throughout his rule he has eroded the liberties of the Russian people, tightened the screws of state repression and hunted down supposed foes.”

Mr Johnson then attacked the Russian leader for having to take away his people’s freedoms to tighten his grip and power.

He went on: “When a leader starts behaving in this way then no-one should be surprised if many of his compatriots feel drawn to the example of countries that observe a different scale of values.

“They will notice that plenty of nations hold elections where no-one knows the result in advance.

“They will see how free societies in Europe, America and elsewhere thrive and prosper precisely because people are able to live as they choose, provided they do no harm.

“They will understand how an independent media exposes the failings or evasions of democratic governments. And they will wonder why Russia cannot have the same?

“Mr Putin cannot give the straight answer, which is that he must deny Russia those freedoms in order to guarantee his perpetual rule.”

Finally, the Foreign Secretary defended the privacy of Mr Skripal and his daughter that are still in a coma following the incident and blasted Moscow’s decision to accuse the UK of breaking “consular conventions”.

Mr Johnson wrote in the Telegraph: “Vladimir Chizhov, the Russian ambassador in Brussels, accused Britain of breaking ‘consular conventions’ because Russian officials had not been able to visit the Skripals.

“The response to the two envoys is so obvious that I can scarcely believe they require instruction.

“Sergei and Yulia Skripal have been in a coma since 4 March - as you would expect from victims of a nerve agent attack. They cannot give their consent to be photographed or receive visitors.

“Under the NHS Code of Practice, hospitals must have their patients’ permission before allowing this to happen.”

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