UK’s Johnson: Invasion of Ukraine would be ‘painful, violent and bloody business’ for Russia

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Senators have a breakfast meeting during his visit to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
Greg Nash

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said invading Ukraine would be a “painful, violent and bloody business” for Russia as worries rise about Moscow launching an incursion.

During a visit to a hospital, he told broadcasters that Britain must make it clear to Russia that an invasion of Ukraine “would be a disastrous step,” according to the BBC. Last week, the prime minister said a Russian invasion would be a disaster for Kyiv, Moscow and “the world.” 

Johnson’s comments come as the U.S. and its allies are becoming increasingly concerned that Moscow is inching closer to invading Ukraine. Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, though Moscow denies having any plans to invade.

Additionally, a British government office revealed this weekend it has information indicating the Russian government is planning to put a pro-Russian leader in power in Ukraine. Russia has dismissed that claim as well.

Britain has started pulling its staff from its embassy in Kyiv, according to the BBC. Additionally, the State Department on Sunday said it had directed family members of government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine to depart the country. Nonessential staffers were also given the option to leave.

NATO announced Monday morning that it is deploying additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe amid the heightened tensions. It also said allied countries are putting forces on standby.

Asked if a Russian invasion was imminent, Johnson said intelligence is “pretty gloomy at this point.” 

“I don’t think it’s by any means inevitable now, I think that sense can still prevail,” he added.

The prime minister said the United Kingdom is “leading on creating the package of economic sanctions, working with our partners around the world.” He said he will talk with colleagues in Washington and other nations later in the afternoon.

He also said Russia should understand that the situation unfolding in the region could “be a new Chechnya.” A separatist conflict in Chechnya in the 1990s involved years of fighting and ended in the country failing to retain independence, the BBC noted. Russian-appointed leader Ramzan Kadyrov now controls the country.

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