Britain Threatens to Send More Troops to Eastern Europe as Foreign Secretary Holds Talks in Moscow

© REUTERS / UKRAINIAN DEFENCE MINISTRYA British military instructor trains Ukrainian service members to use the next generation light anti-tank weapon, NLAW, supplied by Britain, in Lviv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released January 25, 2022
A British military instructor trains Ukrainian service members to use the next generation light anti-tank weapon, NLAW, supplied by Britain, in Lviv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released January 25, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.02.2022
Britain has been at the forefront among NATO nations when it comes to deploying lethal weapons, trainers and the provision of "moral support" to Ukraine amid Western claims of a threat of a "Russian invasion" of the country. Moscow has dismissed the "invasion" claims as a pretext to beef up the Western bloc's military presence in Eastern Europe.
The UK will send additional troops to Eastern and Southern Europe if necessary to support its allies, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced.
"It is absolutely the case that you may well see more forces go to our allies in Eastern Europe or Southern Europe if that is what is required," Wallace said, speaking to LBC Radio on Thursday.
Wallace noted that progress aimed at easing Ukraine-related tensions with Russia was "slow," and reiterated the NATO position on the right of other countries to join the alliance. "What we're really all trying to do, whether you're in NATO or not in NATO, is protect the sovereign right of countries to choose their security alliances," he said.
Also on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in Moscow for talks. "Relations can be normalised exclusively through...dialogue, which is based on the recognition of one another's legitimate interests and a search for mutually acceptable solutions," Lavrov said before the start of negotiations.
"Ideological approaches, ultimatums, threats - this is the road to nowhere," Lavrov added.
For her part, Truss repeated months-old claims made by Western officials and media about a "buildup" of Russian troops near Ukraine and alleged Russian "attempts to undermines Ukrainian sovereignty."
"There is an alternative route, a diplomatic route that avoids conflict and bloodshed. I am here to urge Russia to take that path," she said. Truss also warned that Russia would face "massive consequences" and be forced to pay "severe costs" if it did invade Ukraine.
Truss's visit to Russia was the first of its kind since 2017.
Also Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson -who continues to face domestic pressure over the partygate scandal, told officials at NATO headquarters in Brussels that the UK "remains unwavering in our commitment to European security."
"As an alliance we must draw lines in the snow and be clear there are principles upon which we will not compromise. That includes the security of every NATO ally and the right of every European democracy to aspire to NATO membership," he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov  - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.02.2022
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Wallace is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday.
While some NATO allies such as Germany have expressed growing apprehension about sending military equipment to Ukraine, London has shown no such qualms, deploying large quantities of lethal arms, as well as trainers, to the Eastern European country in recent months. Britain has also reportedly been tapped by the United States in negotiations on a new "coalition of the willing" looking to deploy thousands more NATO troops in Eastern European countries including Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.
Late last year, a former officer of the Security Service of Ukraine revealed that in addition to official weapons contracts and training operations, British mercenaries are also operating in the Eastern European country.
British officials have been among the loudest within NATO when it comes to claims that Russia is preparing to "invade" Ukraine. At the same time, Britain has openly provoked Russia in the Black Sea, deliberately sailing a Navy destroyer into Russian waters off Crimea last year and sending relations between Moscow and London spiralling.
In December, Russia's Foreign Ministry sent NATO and the US a pair of security proposals aimed at dramatically easing tensions in Europe, with the proposed security pacts setting limits on the deployment of troops, missiles, aircraft and warships in areas where they might be considered a threat to the other party, and requesting that the Western alliance halt its eastward expansion plans. NATO and Washington rejected the Russian proposals, all the while insisting their willingness to continue talking with Moscow. Russian officials have warned that a system of "counter-threats" may be established to account for the strategic imbalances caused by the Western bloc's expansionist policy.
A man walks in front of a tower of the Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry building in central Moscow on September 10, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.02.2022
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