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PM to lead Cobra meeting as hope remains for diplomatic solution in Ukraine

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T

he Prime Minister will lead a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee on Tuesday as he maintained there is still time for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.

As efforts continued to avert a war in eastern Europe, Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden stressed there remains “a crucial window for democracy”.

In a call on Monday evening, the two leaders agreed western allies should stay “united in the face of Russian threats”, and will keep in close contact as the situation develops, according to a No 10 spokesperson.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Johnson had pointed to warnings from the US that Russia could invade imminently, but also said there is still time for Russia to step back from the “edge of a precipice”.

The leaders emphasised that any further incursion into Ukraine would result in a protracted crisis for Russia, with far-reaching damage for both Russia and the world

Mr Johnson cut short a planned overnight stay in Cumbria on Monday, instead returning to Downing Street to chair Tuesday’s Cobra meeting, No 10 said, after the Prime Minister received a briefing on the latest intelligence from the UK’s spy chiefs.

Giving details of Mr Johnson’s call with the US leader on Monday evening, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister and President Biden updated one another on their recent discussions with fellow world leaders. They agreed there remained a crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to step back from its threats towards Ukraine.

“The leaders emphasised that any further incursion into Ukraine would result in a protracted crisis for Russia, with far-reaching damage for both Russia and the world.

“They agreed that western allies must remain united in the face of Russian threats, including imposing a significant package of sanctions should Russian aggression escalate.”

The two said they will keep in close contact as the situation develops, the spokesperson added.

Reports based on US intelligence assessments have suggested an invasion could be launched as soon as Wednesday.

(PA Graphics) / PA Graphics

Moscow has accused the UK and US of a propaganda campaign and insisted it was ready to continue talks.

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