Johnson urges Russian scientists to apply to come to the UK to escape Putin

Boris Johnson has urged Russian scientists to defect to the UK to escape Vladimir Putin’s oppression as he also set out a package of support for Ukrainian researchers.

The Prime Minister said experts who no longer feel safe in Russia should apply to come to a country that “values openness, freedom and the pursuit of knowledge”.

Meanwhile, he unveiled funding and partnership deals to help Ukrainians experts – whose research has been hit by the Russian invasion – carry on their work in the UK.

G7 Summit
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

At the G7 summit in 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 plans announced include a major increase of funding for the “researchers at risk” scheme, putting in a further £9.8 million on top of the initial £3 million, which will see 130 academics come from Ukraine to continue their work.

The UK Government will also provide funding to support the Universities UK International and the Cormack Consultancy Group twinning programme between UK and Ukrainian academic institutions.

The Department for International Trade will step up work under its global entrepreneur programme to offer temporary relocation and mentorship to Ukrainian science and tech business leaders forced out by the invasion.

Mr Johnson said: “The people of Ukraine have had to sacrifice so much at the hands of Putin’s barbarism.

“But I remain utterly dedicated to ensuring a future in which, together, the Ukraine and the UK thrive.

“People across the UK have opened their hearts and their homes to support those fleeing violence in Ukraine, and our world-leading universities, research institutions and tech businesses are no different.

“Science and technology will be decisive in ensuring Putin fails in Ukraine, and it will be crucial as we rebuild the Ukrainian economy. The UK will be with our Ukrainian friends every step of the way.”