A Russia-Ukraine conflict would turn into a “fully fledged” European war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned.
Zelenksy met with Boris Johnson in Kyiv today, with the Ukrainian President telling a press conference that “we have to be prepared for bad things” as fears continue to mount that Russian President Vladimir Putin will launch an invasion of his neighbour.
Johnson said the UK would be ready to hit Russian businesses and oligarchs linked to the Kremlin with tough economic sanctions “the moment the first Russian toecap crosses further into Ukrainian territory”.
Putin has 100,000 Russian troops stationed around the Ukrainian border and diplomatic talks have not progressed.
Zelensky said “there will be a tragedy in case of powerful escalation against our state”.
“Therefore I’m being very open – this is not going to be a war of Ukraine and Russia, this is going to be a European war, a full-fledged war. Because no one is going to give away territory any longer,” he said.
The UK has sent military equipment and aid to Ukraine and is sending more soldiers to Nato countries in eastern Europe like Estonia.
However, foreign secretary Liz Truss has said it is very unlikely that the UK would send combat troops to Ukraine if Russia invades.
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg also said that none of the alliance’s troops would be sent into combat if a war breaks out.
Speaking at the press conference today, Johnson said: “The single most useful thing to get over to the Russian public … is the reality that the Ukrainian army will fight and there are 200,000 men and women under arms in Ukraine.
“They will put up a very very fierce and bloody resistance. Parents, mothers in Russia should reflect on that fact.”