This is a “moment of extreme danger for the world”, prime minister Boris Johnson has declared as the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine grows.
Speaking at a security summit in Germany, Johnson said it has “seldom been more vital to preserve our unity and resolve”.
“If Ukraine is invaded and if Ukraine is overwhelmed, we will witness the destruction of a democratic state,” the prime minister said, according to Sky News.
‘Staring at a generation of bloodshed and misery’
Johnson labelled the signs from Russia as “grim” and warned countries across the globe “should not underestimate the gravity of this moment”.
He said: “The risk now is people will draw the conclusion that aggression pays and that might is right so we should not underestimate the gravity of this moment and what is at stake.
“As I speak to you today, we do not fully know what president Putin intends, but the omens are grim and that is why we must stand strong together.”
Johnson warned “we are now staring at a generation of bloodshed and misery”, whilst saying this is the “eleventh hour of averting disaster and ensuring good sense can still prevail.”
After the conference, Johnson reportedly said that violence in Ukraine’s Donbas region, which Britain thinks Russia has caused, may be a “prelude to bigger action” from Moscow.
Asked if he believed Russia’s president Vladimir Putin had decided to invade, Johnson replied: “I think only one person really knows the answer to that question, and that is Vladimir Putin.
“We hope that president Putin will think better of what I think will be an absolutely crazy, disastrous venture in Ukraine.”
Russia ‘would not stop at Ukraine’, Truss warned
Earlier this week, UK foreign secretary Liz Truss warned Russia would “not stop at Ukraine”.
Truss suggested that, should Russia push through an invasion of Ukraine, the conflict produce problems in the wider continent.
She said: “The big risk, of course, is if there is an invasion into Ukraine that will be hugely damaging for Russia and Ukraine. And it will further undermine the stability of Europe.
“This, I fear, would not stop at Ukraine. This is an attack on the neighbouring states of Russia and other east European countries in trying to undermine legitimacy of them being part of NATO.”
Truss also warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a “very dangerous moment” for the entire world, according to Sky News.
And she pointed to Russia’s close partners, Iran and China. She said Britain is currently negotiating with Iran to stop them from buying a nuclear weapon, whilst China has racked up economic coercion of Taiwan.
“We cannot give a message that aggression gets rewards,” Truss noted.
She added: “If we saw an invasion into Ukraine, there would be severe costs in terms of a long-running conflict, we could see the undermining of security more broadly in Europe and could see other aggressors around the world see it as an opportunity to expand their ambitions too.”