Boris Johnson now Anti-Russian alliance: No 10

Boris Johnson now Anti-Russian alliance: No 10

A lengthy release from Downing Street on Saturday night was issued by the Foreign Office, which revealed that Boris Johnson was now the head of an Anti-Russian alliance, and that British intelligence had unmasked a plot to install a Russian puppet government in Ukraine.

The release stated that Johnson was being briefed daily on the crisis, had ramped up the Whitehall response and was willing to engage directly with Vladimir Putin. He also mentioned his close friendship with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and the number of calls he had made to world leaders in recent days.

The release, promising ministers, would be fanning out across Europe and a gear change across Whitehall, wanted to give the impression of an animated leader gripping a crisis, while unable to shed the troubles of Downing Street parties in lockdown.

It was confirmed that defence secretary, Ben Wallace, would be traveling to Moscow at Johnson's instruction, and Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, may go to Kyiv and Moscow, following the footsteps of the new German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock.

The Downing Street release was unusual not only for giving the impression of frenetic activity. Johnson made a number of pointed barbs against the French and the Germans, as well as its call for maximum Nato unity and its insistence that the UK was operating in lockstep with the US.

The statement with No 10 was most remarkable in diplomatic terms, because it made no attempt to disguise his frustration with his European Nato allies. In a reference to comments made by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the statement said that the prime minister has been clear to counterparts in recent days that now is not the time to start a conversation about Europe's strategic autonomy or radical changes to the European security architecture. Macron has once again raised the idea of a stronger European defence pillar. No 10 said it would be frankly naive to assume that Russia could be mollified by changes to the European security architecture. Sources close to Johnson said that he feared that some world leaders may not appreciate the deteriorating picture on the Ukrainian border or fully comprehend the risks posed by a bullying Russia. Efforts are still under way, led by the Liberal Democrat Layla Moran, to set up a public property register in London, but so far the government has dragged its feet on it.

More than 1 bn of the identified land titles are owned by Russian people alleged to be involved in corruption or have links to Putin's regime. Transparency International UK said it had identified about 150 land titles that are ultimately owned by the Russian people. The ownership of these firms has only been revealed due to court cases, document leaks, and investigations by journalists. Few can predict the course of the Ukraine crisis, and no doubts the huge military and ideological support provided by the UK, but at least Johnson has a lot to do before he is taken seriously as the central player in this conflict, as Downing Street projects.