Boris holds virtual meeting with world leaders to discuss situation in Ukraine

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has held a virtual meeting with the leaders of the US, Italy, Poland, France, Germany, the European Council, the European Commission and NATO to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

In the call which included Prime Minister Boris Johnson, American President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Polish President Andrzej Duda and other European Union leaders, as well as Nato’s Secretary-General, the leaders all agreed on the importance of international unity in the face of growing Russian hostility.

The British Prime Minister underlined the real human cost of any Russian aggression and the need to take all steps within our power to prevent that outcome.

The leaders stressed that diplomatic discussions with Russia remain the first priority, and welcomed talks that have already taken place between Russia and NATO allies.

They also agreed that the international community should not tolerate any action which undermines Ukrainian sovereignty.

The Prime Minister outlined the steps the UK has taken to increase Ukraine’s defensive capacity. He emphasised the need to support Ukraine’s defences against the full spectrum of malign Russian activity.

The leaders agreed that, should a further Russian incursion into Ukraine happen, allies must enact swift retributive responses including an unprecedented package of sanctions.

The US has put 8,500 soldiers on heightened alert amid the tension and President Joe Biden discussed the possible mobilisation of troops to Nato member states bordering Russia, with a further 45,000 on standby if the situation continues to deteriorate.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Vladimir Putin that an invasion of Ukraine would be a “painful, violent and bloody business” for Russian troops. 

On Monday, the Foreign Office withdrew some embassy staff from Ukraine in readiness for a conflict that Mr Johnson said would be “disastrous.”

Following the conference call, Downing Street said:

“The leaders agreed that, should a further Russian incursion into Ukraine happen, allies must enact swift retributive responses including an unprecedented package of sanctions.”

Mr Johnson said yesterday:

“The intelligence is very clear that there are 60 Russian battle groups on the borders of Ukraine, the plan for a lightning war that could take out Kyiv is one that everybody can see.

“We need to make it very clear to the Kremlin, to Russia, that that would be a disastrous step.

“I think it’s very important that people in Russia understand that this could be a new Chechnya.”

The world leaders resolved to continue coordinating closely on any such response.

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