'It doesn't have to be this way': PM speaks in Russian and Ukrainian in appeal for end to war

Boris Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier today. Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has recorded a video in which he aims to speak to both Ukrainians and Russians after a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this morning.

Speaking in Russian, the prime minister says: “To my Russian friends I do not believe this war is in your name. It does not have to be this way.”

In the recording Johnson also says in Ukrainian: “This crisis, this tragedy, can and must come to an end because the world needs a free and sovereign Ukraine."

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The video – in which he describes the invasion as a tragedy for Ukraine and Russia – was recorded after the PM held a phone call this morning with the Ukrainian leader.

Zelenskyy asked Johnson for help with more military supplies but also to speak out to the Russian people and urge restraint, including in targeting Russian leaders directly.

He wanted the prime minister to ask Russians to take to the streets and call for an end to the war.

It comes as the PM continues to urge other countries to consider blocking Russia from the SWIFT banking system that allows international transfers.