Ukraine crisis: Britain ready to deploy troops in Europe should Russia invade

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Towards the end of last year, the crisis on the Ukrainian border was ratcheted up as Russia began gathering more soldiers and supplies raising fears of an invasion

Soldiers marching in line
There are growing fears the invasion will come this winter

Britain is ready to deploy troops to protect its NATO allies in Eastern Europe, should Russia invade Ukraine, Boris Johnson has said.

The Prime Minister warned that Russia would face “heavy economic sanctions”.

Speaking to the House of Commons, Johnson said that an invasion could result in “bloodshed comparable to the first war in Chechnya or Bosnia”.

He said: “If Russia pursues this path, many Russian mothers’ sons will not be coming home.

“The response in the international community would be the same and the pain that would be inflicted on the Russian economy will be the same.”

Johnson appealed for a diplomatic solution and to avoid a war that would “earn and would deserve the condemnation of history.”

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said that his party “stands resolute” in supporting Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty in the face of growing fears of a Russian invasion.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking to MPs to update them on the situation in Ukraine, in the House of Commons
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

When making his statement to the Commons, Johnson added: “The British Army leads the Nato battle group in Estonia and if Russia invades Ukraine, we would look to contribute to any new Nato deployments to protect our allies in Europe.

“We will not reopen that divide by agreeing to overturn the European Security Order because Russia has placed a gun to Ukraine’s head, nor can we accept the doctrine implicit in Russian proposals that all states are sovereign, but some are more sovereign than others.

“The draft treaty published by Russia in December would divide our continent once again between free nations and countries whose foreign and defense policies are explicitly constrained by the Kremlin in ways that Russia would never accept for itself.”

Servicemen of the Mechanized Brigade service and drive vehicles at an undisclosed location in Luhansk Region, Ukraine
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Image:

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

He went on: “There is nothing new about large and powerful nations using the threat of brute force to terrify reasonable people into giving way to otherwise completely unacceptable demands.

“But if President Putin was to choose the path of bloodshed and destruction, he must realize that it’d be both tragic and futile, and nor should we allow him to believe that he could easily take some smaller portion of Ukraine – to salami- slice – because the resistance would be ferocious.”

Around 100,000 Russian troops have amassed at the border with Ukraine as diplomatic measures have so far failed to ease tensions.

Servicemen of the Mechanized Brigade service and drive vehicles at an undisclosed location in Luhansk Region, Ukraine
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Image:

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The crisis has been brewing since 2013 after protests erupted when the then president suspended an agreement that would have brought Ukraine closer to the EU.

Sir Keir said: “For too long the implicit message to Moscow has been that President Putin can do what he likes and the West will do little to respond.

“We must now change course and show Russia that any further aggression will result in severe real-world consequences.”

Service members of the Ukrainian armed forces are seen at combat positions near the line of separation from Russian-backed rebels outside the town of Avdiivka in Donetsk Region
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Image:

REUTERS)

Tobias Ellwood, Conservative chairman of the Defense Committee, said the threat of sanctions will not stop Russian aggression.

He added: “It is not to late to mobilize a sizeable Nato presence in Ukraine, utilizing the superior hard power the alliance possesses to make Putin think twice about invading another European democracy.”

Mr Johnson replied: “I have to tell him that I don’t believe that to be a likely prospect in the near term. Ukraine is not a member of Nato.

“But what we can do, and what we are doing, is sending troops to support Ukraine.”

The USS Harry S Truman aircraft carrier is now under Nato command in the Mediterranean as the US has put 8,500 troops on heightened alert
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Image:

Seaman Gabriela Chambers/Avalon)

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, warned that Defense Secretary Ben Wallace’s support for Ukraine risks being “undermined” if the Government does not tackle “dirty Russian money flowing through our system.”

At the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, the Defense Secretary indicated that Russia already had operatives in place to prepare for an invasion.

“We are becoming aware of a significant number of individuals that are assessed to be associated with Russian military advance force operations that currently are located in Ukraine,” Mr Wallace told MPs.

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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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