The Defence Secretary spoke to his Russian counterpart to discuss the conflict.
23 October 2022
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has warned his Russian counterpart against any attempt to escalate the war in Ukraine.
Mr Wallace spoke to Sergei Shoigu in a rare telephone call initiated at the request of the Russians, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
According to an MoD readout, Mr Shoigu accused the UK and other Western powers of seeking to assist the government in Kyiv in trying to escalate the conflict.
Mr Wallace rejected the claims and warned Moscow not to try to use them as a “pretext” for its own efforts to step up the conflict.
In a statement, the MoD said: “Minister Shoigu alleged that Ukraine was planning actions facilitated by Western countries, including the UK, to escalate the conflict in Ukraine.
“The Defence Secretary refuted these claims and cautioned that such allegations should not be used as a pretext for greater escalation.
“The Defence Secretary also reiterated UK and wider international support for Ukraine and desire to de-escalate this conflict.
“It is for Ukraine and Russia to seek resolution to the war and the UK stands ready to assist.”
The call comes after Mr Shoigu spoke to US defence secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday to discuss the ongoing war.
Few details of their discussion were made public although the Pentagon said they emphasised the importance of “maintaining lines of communication” amid the conflict.