Defense secretary ‘not optimistic’ Russian invasion of Ukraine may be stopped as US rejects demand to ban country from NATO

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Ben Wallace has admitted he is “not optimistic” that a Russian incursion into Ukraine can be stopped as he prepares to meet his counterpart in Moscow.

The UK is understood not to rule out supporting personal sanctions against President Vladimir Putin in the event of a Russian incursion into Ukraine.

Overnight, the US rejected Russia’s demand to exclude Ukraine from NATO, amid warnings that Russia could invade its neighbor.

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Speaking to the BBC, the defense secretary told the BBC from Germany that there was still “a chance” an invasion could be stopped, but added: “I’m not optimistic.”

The 51-year-old also confirmed to the broadcaster that he would soon meet Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow.

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It comes after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK is not ruling out support for personal sanctions against President Vladimir Putin should Russia invade Ukraine.

Ms. Truss made the comments after US President Joe Biden suggested that punishing the Russian president could be an option in the event of an invasion.

Asked Tuesday if he could see himself sanctioning Putin under those circumstances, Biden told reporters: “Yes, I would.”

Asked whether the UK would support personal sanctions against the Russian president, Ms Truss told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Wednesday that the government had “ruled nothing out”.

“We have not ruled anything out on sanctions and, in fact, we will legislate to tighten our sanctions regime and make sure that we can hit individuals as well as businesses and banks in Russia in the event of a raid. ,” she said.

“The important thing is that all our allies do the same, because it is through collective action, showing Vladimir Putin that we are united, that we will help deter a Russian incursion.”

The prime minister said on Tuesday that Britain was prepared to deploy troops to protect NATO allies in Europe should Russia invade Ukraine, warning that Putin faced “fierce” Ukrainian resistance.

Asked about this on BBC Radio 4’s Today, Ms Truss said: “We already deploy troops to Estonia as part of our enhanced forward presence. We are seeing what else we can do. We are working very closely with allies.

“I had a meeting with the NATO secretary general in Brussels earlier this week to discuss that, but the UK is already at the forefront of providing forces in Estonia and providing broader support in Eastern Europe.

“But make no mistake, NATO is determined to increase support on the eastern flank to support our NATO allies, to whom we of course have strong obligations.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance document was also handed over to Moscow and while he was willing to listen to Russia’s concerns, all nations had the right to choose their own security arrangements.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed in response that Stoltenberg had “lost touch with reality” when asked about NATO’s increased presence near Russia’s borders, telling the press in the Russian Parliament: “You know, I stopped taking any opinion on your statements for a long time.” behind”

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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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