British defense minister says invited Russian counterpart to visit London

UK Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace said on Monday he has sent an invitation to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to visit London.

"Today, I'm extending my invitation to my Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu to visit London in the next few weeks. We are willing to discuss issues related to the mutual security concerns and engage constructively in good faith," he told parliament, adding that he doesn’t know whether the Russian minister would accept it or not.

"The current gap is wide but not unbridgeable. I still remain hopefully that diplomacy will prevail. It is President (Vladimir) Putin’s choice," Wallace said.

According to Wallace, London is maintaining contacts with Moscow. As an example, he cited a recent meeting between the two countries’ top diplomats, Sergey Lavrov of Russia and Liz Truss of the UK on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial meeting in Stockholm, and a telephone conversation between UK Chief of the Defense Staff Tony Radakin and Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasmov.

He also said that Britain would supply anti-tank offensive weapons to Ukraine to help it defend itself in case of Russia’s alleged aggression. "They are not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia. They are to use in self-defense," he said.

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