UK will respond ‘decisively’ to Russia attack on Ukraine, vows Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has pledged that the UK and its allies will respond “decisively” to Russia’s attack on Ukraine as he prepared to chair a Cobra emergency meeting on the crisis with further economic sanctions expected to be under consideration.

The prime minister also condemned Vladimir Putin, saying Russia’s president had “chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction”, and is expected to update the public and MPs shortly after the meeting.

It came as Ukraine’s president declared martial law, while Russia’s military said it had targeted Ukrainian airbases and other military assets and had not targeted populated areas.

A Downing Street spokesperson said Johnson would chair a Cobra committee meeting at 7.30am to discuss the response to the “horrific attacks”.

Zelenskiy introduces martial law in Ukraine as sirens blare in Kyiv – video
Zelenskiy introduces martial law in Ukraine as sirens blare in Kyiv – video

Britain, in common with other Nato allies, has said it would not fight Russia, because Ukraine is not a Nato member. But the UK has supplied arms to Kyiv and has already announced limited economic sanctions.

The UK previously said it expected Russia to launch “multiple axes” of invasion – aimed at Ukraine military forces in the east of the country and above all, the capital, Kyiv, in what could be a bloody attempt to force a change of regime.

Western officials have said they expect Russia to seek to encircle Ukraine’s major cities and rely on the FSB intelligence service to deliver them with limited fighting. The US has warned key Ukrainian figures could be targeted in this phase.

In a statement posted on Twitter at 4.53am, Johnson said he had spoken with Volodymyr Zelenskiy to discuss “next steps”.

He said: “I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskiy to discuss next steps. President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine. The UK and our allies will respond decisively.”

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