Johnson tells Putin UK-Russia relations still poisoned

BERLIN — Boris Johnson told Vladimir Putin that U.K.-Russia relations can’t go back to normal.In their first face-to-face meeting since Johnson’s Conservative Party won a huge majority in a national election last month, the U.K. prime minister told the Russian president that Britain is still furious over the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, a Russian former intelligence officer, in Salisbury, England in March 2018.

In a statement, No. 10 Downing Street said: “He was clear there had been no change in the U.K.’s position on Salisbury, which was a reckless use of chemical weapons and a brazen attempt to murder innocent people on U.K. soil. He said that such an attack must not be repeated.”

There was no immediate statement by the Kremlin, but Putin has rejected the British allegations as baseless and Russian officials repeatedly demanded that U.K. authorities come forward with hard evidence.

In its statement, No. 10 portrayed Johnson as unbudging in his insistence that Russia end its extra-territorial mischief and said he had reiterated the two countries’ responsibilities as world powers.

“The Prime Minister said that they both had a responsibility to address issues of international security including Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran,” the statement said. “The Prime Minister said there will be no normalization of our bilateral relationship until Russia ends the destabilizing activity that threatens the U.K. and our allies and undermines the safety of our citizens and our collective security.”

Johnson and Putin were in the German capital for an international conference aimed at achieving a cease-fire to end a long-running civil war in Libya.

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