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Boris Johnson has shared an update on the situation in Ukraine after chairing an emergency Cobra meeting this morning.
A number of major cities were struck by bombs shortly after Putin announced the 'special military operation', prompting the EU to discuss the 'strongest, harshest package' of sanctions it has ever considered and Johnson to describe the events as a 'catastrophe for our continent'.
This is a catastrophe for our continent.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 24, 2022
I will make an address to the nation this morning on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
I will also speak to fellow G7 leaders and I am calling for an urgent meeting of all NATO leaders as soon as possible.
In his address today, Johnson acknowledged a 'vast invasion' is underway and said the world 'cannot allow that freedom' of Ukraine to be 'snuffed out'.
He assured the UK will 'do what more we can in the days ahead', including agreeing a 'massive package of economic sanctions', and continued: 'Our mission is clear: diplomatically, politically, economically and, eventually, militarily, this hideous and barbaric venture of Putin must end in failure.'
The PM addressed the people of Russia, Ukraine and Britain separately in his address, telling those in Russia that he 'cannot believe' the invasion has been launched 'in your name'.
He assured Ukrainians the UK is 'on [their] side', and told Brits the government 'will do everything to keep our country safe', including working with allies for 'however long it takes' to ensure the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine is restored.
In a post on Twitter, he explained that this morning's address came as part of a response which also includes conversations with fellow G7 leaders and a call for an urgent meeting of NATO leaders 'as soon as possible'.
Prior to the Cobra meeting, Johnson wrote, 'I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy [sic] to discuss next steps. President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.'
I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 24, 2022
President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
The UK and our allies will respond decisively.
The PM previously assured Ukrainian President Zelensky the West 'would not stand by as President Putin waged his campaign against the Ukrainian people' during a phone call cited by BBC News.
Johnson's announcement today comes after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for the government to enforce the 'hardest possible sanctions' against Putin and his associates, saying, 'There can be no space for equivocation when faced with the evil that Putin has unleashed. His actions pose a grave threat to the international order on which we all depend.'
The UK listed a number of sanctions against Russia prior to the start of its full-scale invasion, announcing that it was targeting five Russian banks and three oligarchs by freezing their UK assets and banning travel to Britain. Speaking on Tuesday, February 22, Johnson told the House of Commons these initial sanctions were the 'first tranche' of measures and that the government held 'further sanctions at readiness to be deployed'.
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly has expressed belief 'unprecedented' sanctions will be able to reverse Putin's decision to invade, saying new sanctions would 'hopefully persuade people around Vladimir Putin that this is completely the wrong thing to do and he should reverse this attack'.
Per The Independent, he continued, 'Even if Vladimir Putin doesn’t care, the people around him will feel this — and they absolutely do care.'
Cleverly has explained that new sanctions will be announced 'in waves', but claimed they will be the 'largest and most severe economic sanctions' ever imposed on Russia.
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