Boris Johnson to make televised address on Russia-Ukraine war as invasion begins
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Boris Johnson is set to make a televised announcement to the nation later this morning regarding the Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The Prime Minister is also expected to make a statement to Parliament at 5pm on Thursday, February 24.
The PM referred to the Russian military action in Ukraine as a “catastrophe for our continent” and he called for an urgent meeting of NATO leaders.
Earlier Mr Johnson pledged that the UK and its allies will respond “decisively” to Russia following its attack on Ukraine, as he prepared to chair a Cobra emergency meeting on the crisis with further economic sanctions expected to be under consideration.
He also condemned Vladimir Putin, saying Russia’s president had “chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction”.
The UK has said it would not fight Russia, because Ukraine is not a NATO member, but instead has supplied arms to Kyiv and has already announced limited economic sanctions.
A Downing Street spokesperson said Mr Johnson had assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy the west “would not stand by as President Putin waged his campaign against the Ukrainian people”.
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“The Prime Minister said he hoped Ukraine could resist and that Ukraine and its people were in the thoughts of everyone in the United Kingdom people during this dark time,” the spokesperson said.
General Sir Richard Shirreff has warned that Britain could soon be at war with Russia.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the retired Army officer said any incursion into NATO territory would bring Britain into direct involvement in the conflict.
He said: “There is no surprise and there is profound sadness and a sense of appalling horror at what is about to unfold for the people of Ukraine.
“And I think we have to assume that this is not Russia biting off a chunk of Ukraine – for example, establishing a land corridor in Crimea – but a full-blown military offensive to occupy Ukraine.”
Sir Richard said it is “entirely plausible” that Russian President Vladimir Putin could be aiming to revive the Soviet Union, adding that if Russia puts “one bootstep” into NATO territory, the entire alliance will be at war.
Asked whether Britain might be expected to take part directly in the current military confrontation, he said: “Absolutely there is a possibility that we as a nation could be at war with Russia, because if Russia puts one bootstep across NATO territory, we are all at war with Russia. Every single one, every single member of the NATO alliance.
“Article 5 says an attack on one is an attack on all, so we need to change our mindset fundamentally, and that is why I say our defence starts in the UK on the frontiers of NATO.”
This comes after Russia launched what is described as a "full-scale" invasion of its neighbouring country in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Explosions have been heard in several major cities and numerous casualties have been reported.
The Daily Mirror reports that Russian special force and airborne troops are also on the ground at Kyiv's Boryspil Airport, amid fierce fighting.
Meanwhile, according to unofficial Russian sources, cruise and ballistic missiles are destroying military infrastructure and strategically important facilities.
Shocking footage has also emerged showing cars of people fleeing Ukraine's capital Kyiv, as others sheltered in basements to the sound of distant explosions.
- Boris Johnson
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