Boris Johnson has warned Vladimir Putin of “significant consequences” if Russia invades Ukraine, days after Liz Truss said the UK is “considering all the options” in responding to Russia.
Amid rising tensions between the two Eastern European countries, the prime minister told Putin that destabilising action in the region through the build-up of Russian troops would be a “strategic mistake”.
A Number 10 spokesperson said Johnson “reiterated the importance of working through diplomatic channels to de-escalate tensions and identify durable solutions.”
Truss put her name to G7 threat to Russia
“The prime minister emphasised the UK’s commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and warned that any destabilising action would be a strategic mistake that would have significant consequences,” the spokesperson added.
Last weekend, G7 top officials including UK’s Truss released a statement telling Putin: “Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost.
“We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future.”
And Truss added there was “very much a united voice from the G7 nations who represent 50 percent of global GDP, being very clear that there will be massive consequences for Russia in the case of an incursion into Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, US president Joe Biden told Putin there would be “economic consequences like you’ve never seen” if he went ahead with destabilising the region.
But Al Jazeera correspondent Rory Challands doubts Russia will be influenced by G7 threats – a group of countries comprising the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States, as well as a EU representative.
He said: “The G7 is a loosely affiliated club. It is not something that can crank up or dial down pressure as a collective organisation.
“These foreign ministers will be going back to their respective countries and talking with their leaders about sanctions and punitive measures. But those [measures] will come from individual countries. Not from a strongly worded communique.”
What Russia says
This week, the EU said it would impose sanctions on the Russian Wagner Group of military contractors which has been accused of contributing to problems in Ukraine.
Ukraine has been accusing Russia of gathering tens of thousands of soldiers for a potential large-scale military conflict as early as next year, which US intelligence estimates would involve up to 175,000 troops.
But Kremlin rejected claims that it is planning to invade Ukraine and accused Western countries of Russophobia, as well as the Ukrainian government of creating tensions in the region.
The countries have been in conflict since 2014, when Russia took the Crimean Peninsula and supported a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.
But Putin sees NATO’s expansion as a threat to Russia which goes against agreements made after the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991, and expressed concern that the alliance would expand to include Ukraine.