Boris Johnson has warned international leaders that any Russian invasion of Ukraine will “echo around the world”
He stated that we must be “unflinchingly honest” about the situation in Ukraine and that we must not “underestimate the gravity of this moment”
Mr Johnson said he doesn’t know what Russian President Vladimir Putin has in mind, but “omens are grim” in a speech at a security conference in Munich.
“And that is why we must stand strong together,” he continued.
Russia, which has over 130,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, has been warned by Western nations that it may attack the country at any time.
They accuse Russia of feigning a crisis in Ukraine’s separatist eastern territory in order to justify an invasion.
However, Russia has denied any invasion preparations, claiming that forces are conducting military manoeuvres in the area and accused the West of “hysteria”
Mr Johnson emphasized that the United Kingdom remained hopeful that diplomacy and discussion would be successful in resolving the problem.
“Every time Western ministers have visited Kyiv, we have assured the people of Ukraine and their leaders that we stand foursquare behind their sovereignty and independence,” he added, urging solidarity among the UK’s Western friends.
“How hollow, how meaningless, how insulting those words would seem, if at the very moment when their sovereignty and independence is imperilled, we simply look away.”
“we will witness the destruction of a democratic state, a country that has been free for a generation, with a proud history of elections” Mr Johnson warned if Ukraine is attacked.
Ukraine is a former Soviet country with long-standing links to Russia and borders both the EU and Russia.
Russia has long opposed Ukraine’s shift toward Western institutions, especially NATO, viewing the military alliance’s eastward expansion as a security danger.
Any invasion, the prime minister warned, would be responded with penalties against Russian persons and businesses.
He said that the UK will “open up the Matryoshka dolls” of Russian-owned businesses, making it hard for them to seek capital in London.
His remarks come after the UK announced new laws allowing the country’s penalties to be widened.
“If Ukraine is invaded, the shock will reverberate around the world,” he said at the Munich Security Conference. “Those echoes will be heard in East Asia, and they will be heard in Taiwan.”
Mr Johnson had already met with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who subsequently stated that they had agreed on “joint next steps” and that they were committed to de-escalation and dialogue.