Boris Johnson Warns Russia That UK Would Contribute To Nato Defence Efforts In Ukraine
Boris Johnson has warned Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine, the UK will look to contribute to “any new Nato deployment to protect our allies in Europe”.
In a statement delivered to the Commons on Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister urged Russia's president to respect Ukrainian sovereignty or risk facing “bloodshed comparable to the first war in Chechnya or Bosnia”.
“This winter we witnessed a spectacle that we hoped had been banished from our continent,” Johnson said.
“A large and powerful country, amassing troops and tanks on the border with a neighbour, with the obvious threat of invading.
“If President Putin were to choose the path of bloodshed and destruction, it would be both tragic and futile.”
Around 100,000 Russian troops have now amassed on the border with Ukraine and Nato forces have subsequently been put on standby.
In 2014 Putin annexed the then-Ukrainian territory of Crimea, a move that triggered widespread international condemnation alongside a conflict that has cost around 4,000 lives.
For now, the British embassy in Kyiv will remain open, but around half of the embassy’s staff are being sent back to the UK as a precaution.
In a call on Monday evening, Johnson and world leaders agreed that if Russian aggression at the border escalates, Western allies will impose “coordinated and severe economic sanctions heavier than anything we’ve ever done before”.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will also visit Ukraine for talks next week.
“We in the UK will not hesitate to toughen our national sanctions against Russia in response to whatever President Putin may do,” Johnson said.
In response to the Prime Minister’s statement on Ukraine today, Keir Starmer said: “Labour stands resolute in our support of Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
“This isn’t just a local dispute on the other side of the continent. It’s an attempt by President Putin to turn back the clock, to re-establish Russian force as a means of dominance over parts of Eastern Europe, and it’s a direct threat to the anti-imperialist principle that sovereign states are free to choose their own allies and choose their own way of life.”
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