Boris Johnson will travel to Kiev tomorrow to meet with president Volodymyr Zelensky over the Ukraine-Russia crisis, with the Prime Minister also set to speak to Vladimir Putin today.
Johnson will hold a press conference tomorrow in Ukraine following his meeting with Zelensky.
It comes as foreign secretary Liz Truss will today outline a set of tough financial sanctions that will be levelled at Russian oligarchs close to Putin if he invades Ukraine.
Johnson’s official spokesman said the PM would tell Putin in a call today to step back from the brink of war and once again spell out that invading Ukraine would lead to co-ordinated sanctions from Nato countries.
The spokesman said: “I think our aim is to continue to encourage Russia to take a diplomatic path to de-escalate and to step back from what would be a very costly exercise if they were to follow the path of further aggression. Pursuing that path would be extremely costly for the Russian people.”
Russia has more than 100,000 troops stationed around the entire Ukrainian border, with fears continuing to mount that Putin will order an invasion.
Truss yesterday said that a war between Russia and Ukraine was now “highly likely”, with diplomatic efforts so far failing to yield a peaceful solution.
Russia is seeking guarantees from the US that it will not allow Ukraine to become a Nato member – a demand that has been rejected by US secretary of state Antony Blinken.
Liz Truss will today introduce legislation in parliament that will “target more Russian interests that are of direct reliance to the Kremlin” in case of an invasion by Putin.
Truss said the UK would not be afraid to bear the costs of shutting out potentially billions of pounds from the City.
“Currently, the economic sanctions are fairly narrowly drawn, so we could only target companies with a direct involvement in destabilising Ukraine,” she told Sky News.
“What we are looking to do is widen that so any company of interest to the Kremlin and the regime in Russia would be able to be targeted, so there will be nowhere to hide for Putin’s oligarchs, for Russian companies involved in propping up the Russian state. That’s what we are looking at doing this week.
“Nothing is off the table and we’re not going to do into details of exactly who and how we would target the sanctions. What the legislation enables us to do is hit a much wider variety of targets so there can be nobody who thinks they can be immune to those sanctions.”
The UK is also preparing to send extra troops to Estonia and more warships to the Black Sea in response to the crisis, however Truss yesterday said it was very unlikely that combat troops will be sent if a war erupts.
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said similarly yesterday.