Russias media mocked UK with brutal swipes – The waves now rule Britannia
Russia: Expert says Putin’s plan ‘pretty awful’
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Ukrainians that he will not impose a no-fly zone. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked Western nations to increase its support for the country as Russian forces continue to attack major cities. Mr Zelensky had said: “If you are united against the Nazis and this terror, you have to close. Don’t wait for me ask you several times, a million times. Close the sky. “Close the sky and stop the bombing.”
However, Mr Johnson has said: “We’ve had some very frank conversations and ones which have been deeply upsetting because there is a line beyond which, quite frankly, the UK and NATO would be deemed to be in direct conflict with Russia.
“It’s agonising, absolutely agonising. I’ve had this conversation at least a couple of times with Volodymyr but I think the difficulty is that it will require me to order RAF jets, UK pilots into the air with a mission to shoot down Russian fast jets.”
Mr Johnson doesn’t want to risk a war with Russia – London and Moscow already have a history of tension.
In 2017, Russian media mocked the UK when all of the Royal Navy’s strike subs went out of order.
Newspapers, news agencies and TV stations close to President Vladimir Putin were quick to gloat about problems plaguing the UK’s multi-billion-pound fleet of seven underwater “hunter-killers”.
Russian-language editions of Sputnik, the Kremlin’s main propaganda and disinformation vehicle, described Britain’s undersea home defences as being “naked”.
Pro-Kremlin Life News suggested the defence assets were broken and there was no money to fix them.
It added: “The waves now rule Britannia.”
John MacDonald of the Scottish Global Forum think tank stressed at the time the reports could be seen as a sign of weakness in Moscow.
He said: “This could not come at a worse time as Russian sub activity out of the Arctic and down to UK waters, notably around Faslane, is at Cold War levels.
“Operationally, this is bad. In PR terms, it may also send out a message of unpreparedness to UK allies and to Russia.
“Symbolism (specifically, demonstrating strength) is all-important in Russia-NATO relations.”
Mr MacDonald said the revelations also added strength to opponents of nuclear weapons.
He added: “There is a glaring lack of money to do what is required to maintain the functioning Navy the UK thinks it needs.
“Financial pressures are pressing. This nourishes Trident opponents: we cannot afford to pay for nuclear and non-nuclear forces from the same MoD budget.”
Prime Minister Mr Johnson has had his own personal run-ins with the Kremlin in the past.
Then-Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson suggested in 2018 that hosting the World Cup in Putin’s Russia could be likened to the staging of the 1936 Olympics in Adolf Hitler’s Germany.
The 2018 World Cup came three months after the Salisbury attack, in which two Russian nationals poisoned Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
The UK expelled Russian diplomats following the attack, and British-Russian relations took another turn for the worse.
In a 2015 column for the Telegraph, Mr Johnson described the Russian President as the “devil” and even referred to him as “Dobby”, the elf-like character from the Harry Potter films.
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Mr Johnson said in his article: “Look, I am no particular fan of Vlad. Quite the opposite.
“Russian-backed forces are illegally occupying parts of Ukraine. Putin’s proxy army was almost certainly guilty of killing the passengers on the Malaysia Airlines jet that came down in eastern Ukraine.
“He has questions to answer about the death of Alexander Litvinenko, pitilessly poisoned in a London restaurant.
“As for his reign in Moscow, he is allegedly the linchpin of a vast post-Soviet gangster kleptocracy, and is personally said to be the richest man on the planet.
“Journalists who oppose him get shot. His rivals find themselves locked up. Despite looking a bit like Dobby the House Elf, he is a ruthless and manipulative tyrant.”
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