UK PM Johnson reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion
The United Kingdom stands "foursquare behind” the Ukrainian people and for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine amid the looming threat of a further Russian invasion, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a video message posted on Twitter on Feb. 2.
The video was recorded following Johnson’s official visit to Ukraine the previous day, and contained footage of the UK prime minister’s meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at Mariinskyi Palace, the ceremonial residence of the President of Ukraine, as well as a visit to the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv and a joint press conference.
“It’s very important for the world, for Ukraine, above all for Russia, that (invasion) does not happen and that President Putin doesn’t make that disastrous miscalculation,” Johnson said.
“That’s why we’re providing another £88 million of economic support to Ukraine, in addition to the lethal weaponry we are supplying, defensive lethal weaponry we’re supplying, and of course working together with our friends and partners to provide a very, very tough package of economic sanctions that would apply instantly, the moment the first toecap of a Russian soldier intrudes upon more sovereign Ukrainian territory.”
The UK prime minister says he still thinks there is “a path out of this,” referring to the unprovoked Russian military escalation on Ukraine’s borders.
“We still think that diplomacy holds the answers, we’re working for that, obviously, as our number one priority, but in the meantime, we stand foursquare behind the Ukrainian people and for the sovereignty territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Johnson added.
Johnson arrived in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Feb. 1 for a state visit with the Ukrainian president.
Johnson was initially expected to announce a new trilateral alliance of Ukraine, Poland and the UK, but these plans were postponed as UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who was also initially expected to attend, tested positive for COVID-19 and remained in the UK.
In a joint statement following the talks, the leaders reaffirmed their desire to deepen the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the UK.
They also warned that any further Russian incursion in Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake and have a stark humanitarian cost.
On Feb. 2, Johnson spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Kremlin reported that “the leaders held a detailed exchange of views on the internal crisis in Ukraine and developments related to providing long-term, legally binding security guarantees to the Russian Federation.”
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