Alwaght- British foreign minister is set to visits Russia in the coming weeks for "high-level talks," UK Foreign Office said on Saturday.
Boris Johnson will become the first British minister to visit Moscow in more than five years, after accepting an invitation from the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the differences between the two countries over Syria and Ukraine.
The two European countries' already-chilly relationship exacerbated in 2014 after Russia's annexation of Crimea and Britain backed sanctions against Russia in response to the move. The countries have also clashed on other issues, including Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus fight against militants and terrorists.
However, a Foreign Office official said that Johnson was not prepared to “reset” the relationship until Russia changes course “on issues such as Ukraine,” Financial Times reported.
“This is absolutely not about cosying up — in fact the opposite,” the official said. “He intends to say the same things face to face as we do in public . . . Boris has always said we can’t reset but we must engage when in our interests.”
"Discussions will focus on the UK-Russia relationship and current international issues including Syria and Ukraine, where we continue to have significant differences," Reuters cited a Foreign and Commonwealth spokeswoman as saying.
"This is not a return to business as usual and the Foreign Secretary will continue to be robust on those issues where we differ."