Boris Johnson warns of ‘dangerous moment’ in Ukraine tensions amid ‘difficult’ Russian meeting for Liz Truss


The Prime Minister indicated further military support could be offered to Ukraine if Russia invades as he carried out engagements at Nato headquarters in Brussels and alongside his Polish counterpart in Warsaw.

But Mr Johnson made clear Britain could not intervene militarily if Ukraine was attacked.

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In a pooled clip for broadcasters at a military base in Warsaw, the Prime Minister said: “The UK has been supplying some defensive weaponry in the form of anti-tank missiles, we have been training Ukrainian troops. That is as far as we can go at the moment.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov (right) and British foreign secretary Liz Truss greet each other prior to their talks in Moscow. Picture: Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP

“Ukraine is not part of Nato. What we are sticking up for is the right of Ukraine like any other sovereign independent country to aspire to that.”

Meanwhile, foreign secretary Liz Truss was involved in testy exchanges with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, with no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough being achieved following their meeting in Moscow.

Russia has insisted it has no plans to invade Ukraine, but the Nato alliance is alarmed by the build-up of more than 100,000 troops on the borders with its neighbour.

Speaking to broadcasters in Warsaw, Mr Johnson said there had to be a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

“I think today, February 10, 2022, we stand on the edge of a precipice and things are as dangerous as I have seen them in Europe for a very, very long time,” he said.

“It is up to Vladimir Putin to disengage and de-escalate and the way forward is diplomacy.”

At an earlier press conference, speaking alongside Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, the Prime Minister called on Russia to engage in meaningful talks because it was “far better to begin a discussion now than to have a catastrophe”.

The UK has already supplied 2,000 anti-tank missiles, body armour, helmets and combat boots to Ukraine and Mr Johnson indicated he could go further.

Asked if he could authorize military support to an insurgency in Ukraine in the event of an invasion, he said: “We will consider what more we can conceivably offer.

“The Ukrainians are well prepared. There are things we’ve offered that they, in fact, don’t seem to need because they think they have them in enough numbers already.

“It’s possible, I don’t want to rule this out, but at the moment we think the package is the right one.

“But I want to stress it would be an absolute disaster if it was to come to that and if there was to be serious bloodshed on Ukrainian soil.”

In Moscow, Ms Truss had a difficult encounter with Mr Lavrov.

I have characterized the meeting as a “conversation between deaf and dumb”, but Ms Truss said: “I was not mute in our discussions earlier. I put forward the UK’s point of view on the current situation and the fact that as well as seeking to deter Russia from an invasion into Ukraine, we are also very resolute in pursuing the diplomatic path.”

She added: “There is still time for Russia to end its aggression towards Ukraine and pursue the path of diplomacy.”

Rejecting Ms Truss’s call for forces to pull back, Mr Lavrov said: “The demands to remove the Russian troops from the Russian territory cause regret. We don’t want to threaten anyone. It’s us who are facing threats.” ”.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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