Ukraine: Former British soldiers fly out to defend country
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In an emotional essay in the New York Times, Boris Johnson reiterated his support for Ukraine and said the West was warned of Russia’s bloody invasion in Ukraine. The Prime Minister said: “We were ready to respond to Russia’s stated security concerns through negotiation. I and many other Western leaders have spoken to President Putin to understand his perspective.
“It was now clear diplomacy never had a chance. But it is precisely because of our respect for Russia that we find the actions of the Putin regime so unconscionable.
“We have no hostility towards the Russian people and we have no desire to impugn a great nation, a world power and a founding member of the United Nations.
“We despair of the decision to send young innocent Russians into a bloody and futile war.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked his country’s allies to provide Ukraine with military aircraft and to boycott Russian oil as well as other exports.
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In a video address, he said: “If the invasion continues and Russia has not abandoned its plans against Ukraine, then a new sanctions package is needed… for the sake of peace.”
But NATO is still committing to not becoming involved in the conflict in Ukraine, despite the 1.5 million refugees and counting as well as numerous reports of civilian deaths due to deliberate targeting by Russian forces.
The UK has committed to helping Ukraine by sending arms to help Ukrainian forces defend themselves from Russian belligerence.
The UK, along with the USA and EU nations, have also placed a raft of sanctions on Russia.
Private companies have also taken action, removing their services from the country.
But as Boris Johnson said this weekend that Western nations have “failed to learn the lessons of Russia behaviour” and said not enough was being done for Ukraine, is there a signal that the UK could be drawn into the fighting?
Is the UK at risk from Russia?
The risk to the UK from Russia is minimal, bordering on an impossibility, particularly in the current situation.
Boris Johnson has pledged his support to Ukraine but has stopped short of sending troops to see off the Russians.
Ahead of a series of meetings with international leaders, the Prime Minister said last week: “Putin must fail and must be seen to fail in this act of aggression.
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“It is not enough to express our support for the rules-based international order – we must defend it against a sustained attempt to rewrite the rules by military force.”
The UK is a member of NATO, and under Article 5 any attack on one member state is considered an attack on all – meaning if the UK or another country were targeted, forces from all nations would become involved in the conflict.
The clause means any attack against one country in the 30-member state alliance is considered as an attack against all of its signatories, effectively committing them to protect one another.
Cabinet Minister Sajid Javid warned Putin on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, that the UK will go to war if Russia enters a NATO protected area.
Therefore, at present, the only chance of the UK becoming at risk from Russian fire is if it chooses to target a NATO member state.
However, the UK does have peacekeeping forces stationed in nearby Baltic states that are members of the alliance, who could, theoretically, be mobilised against Russia in the event of a change of policy.
International partners in NATO have reassured they will back any member state that could come under attack.
On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reasserted Washington’s commitment to NATO’s Article 5 at the start of a tour of the Baltic states.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO.
Mr Johnson said Ukraine had “no serious prospect of NATO membership in the near future”.
He said: “This is not a NATO conflict and it will not become one.
“No ally has sent combat troops to Ukraine.”
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