The prime minister made the remarks after chairing a meeting of the Cobra Emergency Committee on Tuesday morning, but added that things were still “not encouraging”.
This comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign policy chief Sergei Lavrov agreed to continue talks, despite the construction of Russian field hospitals near the Belarusian border with Ukraine.
Mr Johnson said: “From going to tonight, there are clear signs of a diplomatic start.”
“The intelligence we are seeing today is still not encouraging. You have more battalion tactical groups being brought closer to the border.
“So, mixed gestures, I think, at the moment.”
The prime minister added that Russia had “many options” for entering the country.
He explained: “We think they have a great deal of preparation to go into action at any moment.
“130,000 troops or more, a large number of battalions – more than 90 battalions, tactical groups – and they are stationed around the Ukrainian border.
“Everyone can see what the possible routes are – down south from Belarus, in the east encircling the Ukrainian army around the area, enclave in Donbass or even coming up south from the sea, Odessa. , Take Curzon.
“It’s the kind of thing they can do.”
Russia-Ukraine crisis: Boris Johnson urges Vladimir Putin to ‘step back’
The prime minister called for a “reversal” of Russian activity. He continued: “I think everyone needs to see a de-escalation program.
“This means removing battalion operational groups from potential theaters of conflict, not building field hospitals with Belarus and on the border between Belarus and Ukraine.
“It simply came to our notice then that things were getting shorter, shorter, shorter, shorter.
“We believe that there is a way to diplomacy. We have some positive signals from the talks between Mr Oshakov (Mr Putin’s foreign policy adviser) and his US counterpart, Sergei Lavrov (Russian Foreign Minister) and others. Have seen
“If that’s true, then let’s do it.”
Speaking to reporters, Mr Johnson also dismissed criticism from some of his Conservative colleagues that the government had not done enough to stop the flow of dirty money into Britain.
He said: “I do not think it is fair to say that the UK did not pay a lot of money for dirty money, whether it was from Russia or elsewhere.
“What we want to do is strengthen the package we have, strengthen the measures we have against potentially illicit Russian money, whether here or anywhere.”
But if you want to open Matryoshka dolls too – you know who I’m talking about – so let’s see … who is the real owner of the companies we’re talking about, who Really owns the properties we are talking about. And those measures, yes, we will go beyond the bill of economic crime.