UK Prime Minister Promises Buildup of NATO Forces in Bloc's Periphery 'if Russia Invades Ukraine'
12:37 GMT 15.12.2021 (Updated: 13:37 GMT 15.12.2021)
© AP Photo / Pavlo PalamarchukSoldiers take part in an exercise at the Yavoriv military training ground, close to Lvov, Western Ukraine, Friday, Sept 24, 2021. Ukraine, the US, and other NATO countries continue joint military drills in Western Ukraine presenting offensive exercises in town-like surroundings with tanks and other military vehicles involved.
© AP Photo / Pavlo Palamarchuk
The promise comes amid ongoing tensions around the alleged buildup of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine. Several western countries have expressed concern that the movement of troops might suggest an upcoming invasion of Ukraine, despite the Kremlin strongly ruling out such a course of action.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has shared London's and its NATO allies' plans in the event Russia invades Ukraine, which include sanctions, aid to Kiev, and a military buildup of NATO troops along the bloc's periphery.
"If Russia were so rash and mad as to engage in an invasion of sovereign territory of Ukraine there would be an extremely tough package of economic sanctions mounted by our allies, mounted by the UK. There would inevitably be the build up of NATO forces in the periphery regions".
Johnson went on to claim that the invasion of Ukraine will be "catastrophic", not only for the country and Russia, but "for the whole world". He added that "we face a crisis" on the border of Ukraine.
Tensions Around Ukrainian Border
The British prime minister's warning comes as tensions persist about the Ukrainian border in light of numerous allegations in the western media that Russia is building up its military presence there. Several western nations, including the US, expressed concerns that Moscow might be planning an invasion, even though the Kremlin has repeatedly rejected such widely-circulated claims.
At the same time, Russia advised the West to pay more attention to Kiev's failure to uphold its commitments under the Minsk agreements, warning that the Ukrainian government might be planning to resolve its domestic conflict in the east using military means. Moscow stressed that Kiev is currently being "pumped with" modern weapons and that it escalates the situation in Donbass with the silent permission of the West.
14 December 2021, 14:38 GMT
Boris Johnson isn't the first western leader to consider deploying more NATO troops closer to the Ukrainian and Russian border, with US President Joe Biden contemplating the same response alongside hefty sanctions in case Russia "invades" Ukraine. But in actuality, the alliance's troops and military vehicles have been active around Russia's borders for years now, routinely patrolling and at times forcing Russian jets and warships to escort them away from the country's boundaries.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denounced the actions of the West and NATO's continuing advance eastward, demanding guarantees that Ukraine will not be admitted to the alliance – something that Moscow sees as a danger to its national security. In a recent telephone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, President Vladimir Putin also stated that the West's pumping of Ukraine with weapons also creates "security threats" for Russia.