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Boris Johnson warns invading Ukraine would be “bloody” and could become “a new Chechnya”

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Invading Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned, would be “disastrous” and a “painful, violent, and bloody business.”

The Prime Minister said the situation is “pretty gloomy,” but war is not inevitable, as the Foreign Office evacuated some embassy workers out of Ukraine.

He said¬†that the United Kingdom was “leading on creating a package of economic sanctions” against Russia.

Mr Johnson indicated that Ukraine is receiving defensive weaponry.

He further added that the UK stood “four-square with the people of Ukraine”.

Despite Russia’s denials of military activity, tens of thousands of troops have gathered near the border.

Mr. Johnson said: “The intelligence is very clear that there are 60 Russian battle groups on the borders of Ukraine, the plan for a lightning war that could take out Kyiv is one that everybody can see.

“We need to make it very clear to the Kremlin, to Russia, that that would be a disastrous step.”

Officials say there have been no specific threats to British diplomats but about half of the staff working in Kyiv will return to the UK. The US has ordered relatives of its embassy staff to leave, saying an invasion could come “at any time”.

The embassy transfers were termed as cautious, and nothing special in the last 24 hours is considered to have prompted the US and UK choices.

EU personnel in Ukraine will remain in place for the time being, with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell vowing not to “dramatize” the situation.

Denmark, Spain, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands, among other Nato members, are sending more fighter jets and vessels to Eastern Europe to reinforce regional defenses. The president of Nato has warned that there is a potential of new conflict in Europe, with an estimated 100,000 Russian troops already stationed near Ukraine’s border.

The prime minister stated that he had visited Ukraine and was familiar with the country’s people, adding: “My judgment is that they will fight.”

“We also need to get a message that invading Ukraine, from a Russian perspective, is going to be a painful, violent and bloody business.

“I think it’s very important that people in Russia understand that this could be a new Chechnya.”

In the 1990s, Chechnya saw a major separatist conflict, with a decade of ultimately fruitless battle for independence.

When asked if an invasion was approaching, Mr Johnson stated: “I’ve got to tell you that I think the intelligence is pretty gloomy at this point. There is certainly a very, very large array of Russian forces and we have to take the necessary steps.

“I don’t think it’s by any means inevitable now, I think that sense can still prevail.”

On Monday, he is scheduled to speak to overseas allies.

Image Credit: Getty

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