HomeEuropeUK to Russia: Invading Ukraine would have ‘catastrophically high’ consequences

UK to Russia: Invading Ukraine would have ‘catastrophically high’ consequences

LONDON — Any invasion of Ukraine by Russia would have “massive strategic consequences,” including “severe” economic sanctions, a British minister warned.

Vicky Ford, a minister in the U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, told the House of Commons Tuesday that the government remains “deeply concerned” about Russia’s military build-ups “in and around Ukraine.”

Moscow has supported proxy fighters in the eastern Donbass region since 2014, but Western intelligence agencies now fear that the Russian military is preparing for a rapid push into Ukraine if Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to invade.

“The U.K. is very clear: any military incursion by Russia into Ukraine would be a strategic mistake,” she said. “The Russian government should expect significant strategic consequences. The cost of an invasion would be catastrophically high.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night held a video call with U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi as Western fears grow.

The videoconference sought to present a “united front” among NATO leaders before Biden holds a call with Putin later Tuesday in which he will warn him against starting another war in Eastern Europe.

Ford told MPs Putin “needs to de-escalate now and return to diplomatic channels.” The U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will host the Ukraine foreign minister in London “for the first U.K.-Ukraine strategic dialogue,” Ford added.

The Commons debate was triggered by an urgent question tabled by Conservative MP Bob Seeley, who warned Europe may be “weeks away from a major war” in Ukraine.

Ford added the U.K. “remains firm” on its support for Ukraine’s accession to NATO — a move that would be seen as a serious provocation by Moscow.

But Ford stressed a “coordinated approach” on energy policy is also needed to support Ukraine, reiterating the U.K.’s position against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would carry natural gas from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea. For months, Ukraine has deployed an intense diplomatic campaign against the pipeline, arguing it makes it easier for Russia to invade the country, and warning Moscow could use it to starve Ukraine of transit fees for shipping Russian gas.



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