Cold War returns as UK looks to steal Russia's top brains ‘dismayed’ by Putin’s invasion


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The Prime Minister made the comments at the G7 Summit, which is being held this year in Schloss Elmau, a retreat in the Bavarian Alps, Germany. Mr Johnson said: “To the Russian scientists and researchers who are looking upon Putin’s violence in dismay, and who no longer feel safe in Russia…You should feel free to apply to come to the UK and work in a country that values openness, freedom and the pursuit of knowledge.”

The offer, Mr Johnson explained, is an expansion of the “researchers at risk” scheme.

This is a twinning programme with Ukrainian universities that allows their academics to continue their research at UK institutions.

The scheme — which now has an expanded budget of around £10million — will see some 130 Ukrainian researchers brought to the UK and supported.

It will be seen how many Russian academics also choose to take advantage of the offer.

Mr Johnson has placed significant focus on the Ukraine crisis during this year’s G7 meeting, with UK officials having said that the summit has seen unprecedented unity among the attending leaders over long-term support for Ukraine.

However, little in the way of concrete action has been taken, with Downing Street having expressed the hope that such will be achieved at the upcoming Nato summit in Madrid, to which the Prime Minister will be travelling on Tuesday.

Mr Johnson’s spokesperson told the Guardian that, while it remained to be seen what came out of the end of the G7 summit, the Prime Minister’s main goal for the event had been to ensure “complete unity”.

He added: “Obviously, this G7 shouldn’t be seen in isolation, because we then move straight into Nato, where I think you might see more of the detailed elements of how that support and commitment might play out.”

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During the summit, Mr Johnson has taken the opportunity to argue that while support for Ukraine against Russia will bring more economic pain and price increases, the consequences of a Russia victory would be far worse.

Mr Johnson told the BBC that there was the need for world leaders to stick to a course of “strategic endurance”.

He said: “Just in terms of staying the course, imagine if we didn’t.

“Imagine if we allowed Putin to get away with the violent acquisition of huge chunks of another country, a sovereign independent territory — the lessons for that would be absolutely chilling in all of the countries of the former Soviet Union.”

The ramifications of a Russian victory, the Prime Minister noted, would “also be felt in east Asia” — a statement viewed as a reference to China’s ambitions in Taiwan.

Mr Johnson added: “In terms of the economic effects, this would mean long-term instability, and anxiety, across the world.”

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Mr Johnson concluded with the assertion that “the price of freedom is worth paying.

“Just remember, it took the democracies in the middle of the last century a long time to recognise that they had to resist tyranny and aggression. It was very expensive.

“But what it bought in the end, with the defeat of the dictators, particularly of Nazi Germany, [was] decades and decades of stability, a world order that relied on a rules-based international system.

“And that is worth protecting, that is worth defending, and that delivers long-term prosperity.”


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