David Cameron recalls his dealings with Vladimir Putin
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The former Conservative Party leader warned Boris Johnson to “not believe” Vladimir Putin’s words after experiencing first-hand the false promises he was given during his reign. He claimed that the Russian President lied about the presence of Russian troops in the Donbas region during the Crimean War in 2014, as well as the fate of the Malaysian airline that was shot over Ukraine.
Speaking to CNN, Mr Cameron said: “I had many dealings with Putin over six years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
“There were two occasions, at least, where I remember coming away from the conversation, checking the facts, and knowing that [Putin] had flat-out lied.
“I think what the British Prime Minister has said, what others have said after Putin’s remarks that they are going to withdraw partially from Kyiv, I would judge them by their deeds.
“Do not believe their words and that must be the right approach.”
Russian deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin said on Tuesday that the Kremlin would reduce its military presence near the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv.
Minister of Defence Sergey Shoigu, who recently was suspected of suffering a heart attack, said Russian forces would concentrate their forces on the “liberation” of the eastern Donbas region.
The comments were made following promising peace talks in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday between Ukraine and Russia.
It is the first concession the Kremlin has made since it listed its demands at the start of negotiations at the end of February
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But Cameron joined a chorus of suspicion towards the claims that Russia will effectively retreat to the east.
Boris Johnson declared that Putin could still seek to “twist the knife” given his history of making false promises.
One western official, speaking anonymously, accused Putin of offering to withdraw troops as a “tactical exercise playing for time”.
They said: “Nothing that we have seen so far has demonstrated to us that President Putin and his colleagues are particularly serious about [scaling back]. It is more of a tactical exercise playing for time.”
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They went on to suggest that even if a withdrawal does occur, there will be “continued death and destruction” in the Donbas region.
President Joe Biden, speaking after a meeting with leaders of Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France to discuss Ukraine, express similar suspicion on Tuesday.
He told reporters at the White House: “I don’t read anything into it until I see what their actions are.
“In the meantime, we’re going to continue to provide the Ukrainian military with their capacity to defend themselves. And we’re going to continue to keep a close eye on what’s going on.”
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