Russia says there is ‘no hope’ of improving ties with Britain under Rishi Sunak


Russia has already blasted any hope of improving ties with Britain following Liz Truss’s departure, saying there is ‘no hope’ of an ease in tensions under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the appointment of the former chancellor will do little to repair the damaged diplomatic relationship caused by Vladimir Putin‘s barbaric invasion of Ukraine.

However, Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the new leader, after forging a strong friendship with Boris Johnson who was unwavering in his support of Kyiv.

Peskov said today: ‘At the moment, we do not see any preconditions, grounds, or hope that in the foreseeable future there will be any positive changes.

‘Russia maintains its openness and readiness to discuss the most difficult issues at the negotiating table. But not to the detriment of its own interests.’

Russia has already blasted any hope of improving ties with Britain, saying there is 'no hope' of an ease in tensions under new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Russia has already blasted any hope of improving ties with Britain, saying there is ‘no hope’ of an ease in tensions under new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Volodymyr Zelensky, seen with Boris Johnson in Kyiv earlier this year, instead welcomed Mr Sunak as leader. He forged a strong friendship with Mr Johnson during his tenure

Volodymyr Zelensky, seen with Boris Johnson in Kyiv earlier this year, instead welcomed Mr Sunak as leader. He forged a strong friendship with Mr Johnson during his tenure

Mr Zelensky said it was a chance to strengthen ties even further with a key military ally

Mr Zelensky said it was a chance to strengthen ties even further with a key military ally

Mr Zelensky instead congratulated Mr Sunak and said it was a chance to strengthen ties even further with a key military ally.

The Ukrainian President said: ‘Congratulations to Rishi Sunak on taking office as British Prime Minister!’ 

‘I wish you too successfully overcome all the challenges facing British society and the whole world today.

‘I’m ready to continue strengthening the Ukrainian-British strategic partnership together!’ the Ukrainian leader added.

Emmanuel Macron also joined in with the chorus of congratulations from world leaders for the new PM.

The French President had a tricky relationship with Mr Johnson and Liz Truss, who refused to say whether he was a ‘friend or foe’.

Liz Truss and French President Emmanuel Macron. The pair had a frosty relationship  who refused to say whether he was a 'friend or foe'

Liz Truss and French President Emmanuel Macron. The former PM refused to say whether he was a ‘friend or foe’

 

Mr Macron said today: ‘Congratulations to Rishi Sunak… together we will continue working to tackle the challenges of the moment, including the war in Ukraine and its many consequences for Europe and the world.’

Elsewhere in Europe, German chancellor Olaf Scholz congratulated Mr Sunak after he became Britain’s third prime minister this year, and vowed to continue working closely with London.

‘I look forward to our further cooperation and partnership in NATO and G7 as close friends,’ Mr Scholz tweeted.

From Italy, newly installed Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that she was ‘eager to cooperate with [Mr Sunak] and his Cabinet on the common challenges, standing for our shared values of freedom and democracy.’ 

Maros Sefcovic, the European Union’s pointman on post-Brexit ties with Britain, said that ‘a positive EU-UK relationship is of strategic importance’.

He vowed to work towards ‘a partnership in full respect of our agreements’ – including the contentious issue of British province Northern Ireland’s land border with EU-member Ireland.

Across the Irish Sea, leaders welcomed the news but cautioned that Sunak must move quickly to resolve an impasse on the Northern Ireland protocol.

Prime minister Micheal Martin called on Mr Sunak to move quickly to start substantive engagement with the European Union on post-Brexit trade rules governing Northern Ireland.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not wait for Mr Sunak to be officially appointed and sent his congratulations via Twitter yesterday

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not wait for Mr Sunak to be officially appointed and sent his congratulations via Twitter yesterday

He said in a statement: ‘Building on work already under way, there is a real opportunity for the EU and UK to find jointly agreed solutions on the issues pertaining to the [Northern Ireland] Protocol, and I urge Prime Minister Sunak to move quickly to substantive engagement with the EU on that basis.’

Ireland’s deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar, who is due to take over as prime minister in December, said he was encouraged by the pragmatism and lack of ‘magical thinking’ demonstrated by Mr Sunak.

Mr Varadkar, who was a key player in trade talks between Britain and the European Union during an earlier stint as prime minister, said however that Ireland would be realistic about Mr Sunak’s history as a Brexit supporter.

‘I think he has demonstrated during his period as chancellor that he did have a real understanding of the economy and how it works … and a real concern for businesses and jobs,’ he said of Sunak at a press briefing today.

‘And I think he has probably demonstrated a lot of pragmatism and less of the magical thinking that we perhaps have seen from some British politicians and I think that is encouraging,’ he said.

Dublin, however, needs to be realistic in its expectations of a breakthrough due to Sunak’s history as an early supporter of Brexit, Mr Varadkar said.

Joe Biden also hailed the appointment of Britain’s first non-white prime minister as a ‘groundbreaking milestone,’ but failed to pronounce his name correctly in an embarrassing gaffe.

The US President stumbled over Mr Sunak’s name, making several failed attempts before calling him ‘Rashee Sanook’.

Joe Biden, speaking at a White House event to mark the Indian holiday of Diwali, said Rishi Sunak, who is also of Indian descent, is expected to be named Prime Minister today after seeing King Charles. But he stumbled over his name, calling him 'Rashee Sanook'

Joe Biden, speaking at a White House event to mark the Indian holiday of Diwali, said Rishi Sunak, who is also of Indian descent, is expected to be named Prime Minister today after seeing King Charles. But he stumbled over his name, calling him ‘Rashee Sanook’

In his speech, Mr Biden said: ‘And whether it’s the United Kingdom, where just today, we’ve got news that [Rishi Sunak] is now the prime minister. 

‘As my brother would say, ”go figure!”‘ he exclaimed, to a round of laughs from the audience.

‘And the Conservative Party, expected to become the Prime Minister, I think, tomorrow when he goes to see the King.

‘Pretty astounding. A groundbreaking milestone. And it matters, it matters.’

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi did not wait for Sunak to be officially appointed, sending congratulations via Twitter yesterday.

‘As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues,’ Mr Modi wrote.

‘Special Diwali wishes to the “living bridge” of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership,’ he added.

Mr Sunak is married to an Indian, Akshata Murty, the daughter of the co-founder of IT giant Infosys.



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