Prime Minister warned that evidence suggests that Russia is planning ‘the biggest war in Europe since 1945’.He said intelligence suggests that Russia intends to launch an attack to encircle Ukraine’s capital Kiev .
- Boris Johnson joined Western allies including Ukraine’s Prime Minister at the Munich Security Conference
- It is Mr Johnson’s third trip to Europe for talks over a potential conflict breaking out in eastern Europe
According To The Mail daily Reports: Boris Johnson has warned that evidence suggests that Vladimir Putin is planning ‘the biggest war in Europe since 1945’ and said there are signs the plan has ‘in some senses’ begun.
The Prime Minister told the BBC’s Sophie Raworth that intelligence suggests Russia intends to launch an attack coming down from Belarus to encircle Ukraine’s capital Kiev – a city with a population of 2.8 million people.
Speaking after the Munich Security Conference, he said: ‘The plan that we’re seeing is for something that could be the biggest war in Europe since 1945 just in terms of sheer scale.’
His comments mirrored President Joe Biden’s warning that the US has reason to believe Russian forces ‘intend to attack’ Ukraine in the coming days, including targeting Kiev.
Mr. Johnson also said that people needed to understand ‘the sheer cost in human life that such an invasion could ‘entail’, both for Ukrainians and Russians.
He added: ‘All the signs are that the plan has already in some senses begun.’
His stark warning came after he warned an invasion of Ukraine appears to be ‘in motion and could cause ‘the destruction of a democratic state’ and ‘the shock will echo around the world’.
Only hours before his statement, the UK Foreign Office announced it had decided to ‘temporarily’ move its diplomats out of Kiev, relocating them to the west of the country.
The department said British embassy officials will relocate to Lviv, situated near the border with Poland.
With estimates that 150,000 Russian troops are posted around Ukraine’s borders, Mr Johnson has previously called the situation ‘very grim’.
But in comments made before embarking on his trip to Germany, the Prime Minister said ‘diplomacy can still prevail’ if the West puts on a united front in terms of agreeing punishing sanctions to slap on Moscow.
‘There is still a chance to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, but it will require an overwhelming display of western solidarity beyond anything we have seen in recent history,’ he said.
‘Allies need to speak with one voice to stress to President Putin the high price he will pay for any further Russian invasion of Ukraine.
‘Diplomacy can still prevail.
‘That is the message I will take to Munich today as we redouble our efforts to prevent a grave miscalculation which would devastate Ukraine, Russia and the rest of Europe.’
The US leader also said suggestions made in the Russian state media that a genocide is taking place in the Donbas were ‘phony’.
Tensions in separatist areas have increased with reports of separate explosions in recent days.
Two explosions shook the rebel-controlled city of Luhansk early on Saturday, while another was reported to have occurred in the center of the city of Donetsk on Friday.
The Luhansk Information Centre said one of the blasts was in a natural gas main and cited witnesses as saying the other was at a vehicle service station.
There was no immediate word on injuries or a cause.
Luhansk officials blamed a gas main explosion earlier in the week on sabotage.
The conflict between Ukrainian government forces and the separatists erupted in 2014 following the ousting of the pro-Moscow government in Kiev and has killed more than 14,000 people.