National & International

PM says UK will not look away from Russia invasion in Ukraine

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The UK “cannot and will not just look away” at Russia’s “hideous and barbaric” attack on Ukraine, Boris Johnson has said, according to the BBC.

The PM said President Vladimir Putin had launched a “vast invasion by land, by sea and by air” without provocation.

He said the UK and allies will launch a “massive package” of sanctions to “hobble” Russia’s economy.

In a pre-recorded TV statement, Mr Johnson stressed that Ukraine was “not some faraway country of which we know little”.

He added: “We have Ukrainian friends in this country, neighbours, co-workers. Ukraine is a country that for decades has enjoyed freedom and democracy and the right to choose its own destiny.”

He said the UK and the world could not allow that freedom “just to be snuffed out”.

As a result, the UK and its allies would agree a “massive package of economic sanctions” in a bid to “hobble” the Russian economy, Mr Johnson said, before warning that the West would need to cease its dependence on Russian oil and gas.

“Our mission is clear: diplomatically, politically, economically and eventually militarily, this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure,” he said.

Mr Johnson’s comments come after Russian forces launched an assault on Ukraine, crossing its borders and bombing military targets near big cities.

Ukraine announced that martial law – which means the military takes control temporarily – has been imposed across the whole of the country.

Traffic jams have built up as people fled the capital Kyiv.

Russian military vehicles are reported to have breached Ukraine’s border in a number of places, in the north, south and east, including from Belarus.

At least seven people are known to have been killed by Russian shelling, including civilians. A Ukrainian presidential adviser said that more than 40 soldiers had died and dozens more were wounded, but this has not been independently confirmed.

Addressing the Ukrainian people directly, Mr Johnson said: “In this moment of agony, we’re with you, we’re praying for you and your families and we are on your side.”

But he said if the months ahead were “grim and the flame of freedom burn[ed] low”, he firmly believed it would “blaze bright again in Ukraine”.

“Because for all his bombs and tanks and missiles, I don’t believe that the Russian dictator will ever subdue the national feeling of the Ukrainians and their passionate belief that their country should be free,” added.

The prime minister also sought to reassure the British public, pledging to do “everything to keep our country safe” and work with allies “for however long it takes” to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence.”Because this act of wanton and reckless aggression is an attack not just on Ukraine, it’s an attack on democracy and freedom in eastern Europe and around the world”.

Appealing directly to the Russian people, Mr Johnson said their president had launched a “tidal wave of violence against fellow Slavic people” before adding: “To the parents of Russian soldiers who will lose their lives, I cannot believe this is being done in your name.”

The PM is now speaking with leaders of the G7 group of wealthy nations about the situation. Earlier, he said on Twitter that the invasion was a “catastrophe for our continent”.

Image Source: BBC

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