BORIS Johnson has touched down in Ukraine as he heads for talks with the country's president one day after the publication of the Sue Gray report.

Johnson's trip to Kyiv takes him into the heart of an increasingly tense dispute with Russia.

He's expected to hold a phone call with Russian premier Vladimir Putin tomorrow afternoon, a meeting that was rescheduled in light of Monday's 2-hour "partygate" question-and-answer session in the Commons.

He is also meeting with Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the pair will hold a joint press conference. Pictures emerged of the pair together at Mariinskyi Palace. 

That was after Nicola Sturgeon, writing in The Guardian, accused Johnson's administation of indirectly contributing to Putin's position by failing to tackle corruption involving Russian oligarchs in the UK.

She said: "We cannot be blind to the circumstances which have led to the current crisis, and that includes the situation where wealth with direct links to the Putin regime has been allowed to proliferate here in the UK with often the scantest of regard paid to its provenance or to the influence it seeks to bring to bear on our society."

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Emphasising that Ukraine "must be free to organise its governance and security alliances as it sees fit", she went on: "As someone who has spent my life campaigning for the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine our own futures, this is a principle fundamental to my own worldview.

"To see such pressures being exerted on a state which has resolutely set itself on a path to integration with the liberal democratic order is unspeakable."

Meanwhile, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the chief of the defence staff, has told ministers that "a significant proportion of Russia's land combat power was now gathered on the western border, coupled with deterrence operations such as military exercises on a scale never seen before".

Ahead of touch-down, Johnson tweeted: "As a friend and a democratic partner, the UK will continue to uphold Ukraine's sovereignty in the face of those who seek to destroy it."

READ MORE: Russia denies responding to US proposal on Ukraine crisis

That's according to Downing Street, which says Radakin briefed ministers that Russia's actions fit into "a pattern of coercion and intimidation that sought to undermine the values and principles of the west".

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister has insisted that partygate has not stolen focus from diplomatic efforts in Ukraine, saying the beleaguered Tory leader is playing an "active role" and that has been "spearheading the international response".

There are understood to be in excess of 100,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border and work is underway to finalise a package of sanctions in the case of a Russian invasion.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who has tested positive for coronavirus, has not travelled with the PM. However, Downing Street has confirmed that he tested negative for the virus before travelling.

His plane landed at the Boryspil airport near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv amidst snow and ice, where a military ceremony greeted him.

Putin has denied plans to attack, but there are international concerns about the presence of artillery as well as soldiers.

READ MORE: Waiting for a ticket out of here: What the mood is like in Ukraine’s capital

He's demanding that Ukraine does not make further attempts to join Nato, claiming that this is a threat to Russian security, something that has been rejected by the United States.

Its president Joe Biden has said Russian invasion remains a "distinct possibility" and Russia has accused the US of "unacceptable inference" in Russian business.

Nato members currently include several of Russia's neighbours and former USSR states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.