John­son reck­ons US un­der­stands dan­ger of Rus­sia

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - News -

The new US ad­min­is­tra­tion un­der­stands the need for cau­tion in deal­ing with Rus­sia, Bri­tish For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son said yes­ter­day.

After his first meet­ing with US sec­re­tary of state Rex Tiller­son dur­ing the G20 sum­mit in Bonn, Mr John­son said they agreed that deal­ings with the Krem­lin had to be han­dled in a “very guarded way”.

While nei­ther theUS nor the UK wanted to see a re­turn to the cold war, they were clear Moscow should not be al­lowed to carry on with its cur­rent be­hav­iour.

“When you look at Rus­sian ac­tiv­ity on the cy­ber front, what they are do­ing in the west­ern Balkans, when you look at what has been hap­pen­ing in the Ukraine, you have got to be very cau­tious,” said Mr John­son.“We don’t want to get into a new­cold war. But nor­dowe­wan­tRus­sian be­hav­iour to con­tinue. Rex Tiller­son has been very clear about that.”

His com­ments come amidUS scru­tiny of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s at­ti­tude to­wards Rus­sia fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Michael Flynn over his con­tacts with the Rus­sian am­bas­sador be­fore Mr Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion last month.

US de­fence sec­re­tary Gen­eral James Mat­tis, at a meet­ing of Nato de­fence min­is­ters in Brus­sels, brushed aside an of­fer by Vladimir Putin of co-op­er­a­tion with west­ern agen­cies to com­bat in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism.

The Rus­sian pres­i­dent said it was in the in­ter­ests of both to work to­gether in the counter- ter­ror­ism arena. But Gen Mat­tis said the Krem­lin must show it would abide by in­ter­na­tional law and hon­our past agree­ments with Nato if there was to be a re­turn to se­cu­rity co-op­er­a­tion, bro­ken off by the US fol­low­ing Moscow’s an­nex­a­tion of Crimea in 2014. There was “very lit­tle doubt” thatRus­sia had ei­ther in­ter­fered or tried to in anum­ber of elec­tions in the democ­ra­cies.

Nato de­fence min­is­ters yes­ter­day de­cided to in­crease the al­liance’s naval pres­ence in the Black Sea in re­sponse to an in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive Rus­sia.

Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg said Nato will hold more war games and train­ing in the strate­gi­cally im­por­tant sea, which borders al­lies Turkey, Bul­garia andRo­ma­nia, but al­soRus­sia, Ukraine and Ge­or­gia.

Boris John­son in pen­sive pose at the G20 sum­mit, where he met Rex Tiller­son

Rus­sian for­eign min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov, left, with his US coun­ter­part Rex Tiller­son

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