Nato will not allow Ukraine to be bullied or intimidated by Russian threats, Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis has said.
Lewis also restated the UK’s position that it will not send troops into Ukraine if it faces an invasion by Russia.
It comes as defence secretary Ben Wallace yesterday compared the response of some western leaders over the crisis to European appeasement to Nazi Germany before World War II.
Russia has around 140,000 troops stationed along the Ukrainian border and US intelligence believes that an invasion is likely to happen in a matter of days.
Speaking to Sky News today, Lewis said: “Nato is very, very clear that it is right that a democratic independent country like Ukraine is allowed to continue as an independent democratic country without this kind of bullying or threats from a state like Russia.
“The west working together is very clear that should Russia take a different course of action that there will be reprocussions for that because it cannot be acceptable for an independent state, has that kind of threat put upon it, let alone that kind of incursion.”
Wallace said last night that a Russia-Ukraine war is now “highly likely” and that Moscow could “launch an offensive at any time”.
“It may be that he [Putin] just switches off his tanks and we all go home but there is a whiff of Munich in the air from some in the west,” he said.
“The worrying thing is that despite the massive amount of increased diplomacy, that military build-up has continued. It has not paused, it has continued.”