UK calls on European allies to prepare Russia sanctions

UK calls on European allies to prepare Russia sanctions

Nato flag is seen during Nato enhanced Forward Presence battle group military exercise Silver Arrow in Adazi, Latvia, on Oct 5, 2019. (File photo: Reuters)
Nato flag is seen during Nato enhanced Forward Presence battle group military exercise Silver Arrow in Adazi, Latvia, on Oct 5, 2019. (File photo: Reuters)

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday called on European allies to be ready to introduce a tough sanctions package against Russia if it invades Ukraine, adding that unity in the West would help deter Russian aggression.

"We have a hard-hitting package of sanctions ready to go and what I think it would be fair to say is we want to see our European friends ready to deploy that package as soon as there should be any incursion at all by Russia into Ukraine," Johnson told lawmakers.

"It is absolutely vital that the West is united now, because it is our unity now that will be much more effective in deterring any Russian aggression."

Johnson said on Monday that Britain would look to contribute to any new Nato deployments to protect its allies in Europe if Russia invaded Ukraine. If Putin's goal was to keep Nato forces away from Russia's borders, then "invading Ukraine could scarcely be more counterproductive", he said.

Nato to determine any troop movements regarding Ukraine

The Nato alliance will make all decisions on possible movement of troops amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, United States Deputy national security adviser Jonathan Finer said on Tuesday.

"That's going to be a decision for the alliance to make," he told CNN in an interview. "The alliance will make decisions about force posture adjustments, but they are ready to go at a moment's notice when the alliance decides."

Asked if troops could be deployed before any Russian incursion into Ukraine, Finer told CNN: "I don't think we're taking any options off the table with regard to that.

"They will not be deployed anywhere but on allied territory...But the timeline and the decision-making will be left up to the alliance in full consultation with all of our allies."

Tensions over Ukraine have mounted as Russia has massed an estimated 100,000 troops in reach of its neighbour's border, surrounding Ukraine with forces from the north, east and south.

Moscow denies planning an invasion and Moscow is citing the Western response as evidence that Russia is the target, not the instigator, of aggression.

On Monday, Nato said it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets. The US has also put 8,500 troops on alert in case they need to deploy to Europe, a move Russia said was concerning.

Russia has also started making combat readiness inspections in its southern military district, which borders Ukraine, involving more than 6,000 troops.


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