Boris Johnson uses call with Vladimir Putin to urge him to help find coronavirus vaccine
- Credit: Alexei Druzhinin/TASS
Boris Johnson has invited Russia to play a more integrated role in global efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
The prime minister, during a phone call with president Vladimir Putin to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, suggested Russia take part in a global vaccine summit next month being hosted by the UK.
While Johnson told the long-standing leader there remain 'obstacles' in developing stronger bilateral relations between the two nations, he opened the door to working 'together' to find an inoculation against Covid-19.
Johnson, during his call with Putin, reflected on the nations' Second World War links but said more needs to be done if closer ties are to be re-established.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: 'The prime minister spoke to President Putin today to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
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'They paid tribute to the collaboration between British and Russian forces during the Second World War, including through the Arctic convoys, and to the heroism and sacrifice of all those who lost their lives.
'They also discussed the bilateral relationship between our countries.
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'The prime minister was clear we should maintain dialogue but that obstacles to further progress remained.'
She added: 'The leaders spoke about the coronavirus pandemic and agreed on the importance of continuing to work together and with other countries to defeat the disease.
'The prime minister invited President Putin to take part in the global vaccine summit that the UK will host virtually in June to strengthen healthcare systems and tackle coronavirus in some of the world's poorest countries.'
During the daily briefing with reporters, the prime minister's official spokesman was asked if Johnson raised the issue of cyber-hacking of the NHS with Putin.
The Number 10 spokesman said: 'The primary purpose of it is to mark VE Day.
'The prime minister and president Putin met in January and the PM set out very clearly then what the UK's position was on the relationship we have with Russia and what needs to happen before it can be normalised.'
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