Johnson said the plan for a Russian invasion “has already begun in a sense.”

Boris Johnson warned that evidence suggests that Vladimir Putin’s plan to invade Ukraine is “already in some ways” and the aggression in Donbass is potentially “a prelude to larger action.”

Citing intelligence leaked to Western leaders by US President Joe Biden, the plan, the prime minister continued, includes an invasion of neighboring Ukraine and encirclement of the nation’s capital, Kiev. Moreover, US intelligence warns that a full-scale invasion will take place this week.

Speaking with bbc oneOn the Sunday Morning programme, the prime minister said he wanted people to “understand the cost in human lives” that an invasion of Ukraine would bring.

However, Mr. Johnson and other world leaders still hope that war can still be avoided. The prime minister told the BBC: “People need to understand the cost to human life this could entail.” He added: “I’m afraid to say that the plan we’re seeing is for something that could really be the biggest war in Europe since 1945 just in terms of scale.”

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Johnson said he was ready to negotiate the presence of NATO forces in countries neighboring Russia. He said: “NATO is a peaceful and defensive alliance, and we are ready to work with President Putin to demonstrate this.”

The comments came after Mr. Johnson’s speech at the annual Munich Security Summit, where he met with NATO allies, as concerns about a possible Russian invasion intensify. Vladimir Putin is now estimated to have between 169,000 and 190,000 troops stationed near Ukraine’s borders.

In his speech, Mr. Johnson said: “In this moment of extreme danger to the world, it is rarely more important to maintain our unity and resolve, and this was the topic of my conversation last night with fellow leaders, including President Biden. President Macron, Chancellor Scholz and Prime Minister Draghi, as well as the leaders of NATO and the EU.”

“If Ukraine is invaded and if Ukraine is invaded, we will witness the destruction of a democratic state, a country that has been free for a generation, with a proud history of elections.”

After crisis talks with Mr Biden and the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, NATO and the EU, Mr Johnson added: “We must not underestimate the gravity of this moment.”

Reports of violence in Donetsk have highlighted fears that Russia will justify invading Ukraine with false flag attacks. According to Russian reports, an explosive device was planted in the car of Denis Sinenkov, chief of police in the pro-Russian separatist republic. This did not result in casualties. And on Thursday, Moscow said that Ukraine had “exterminated the civilian population of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” for a long period, and the increase in civilian casualties was tantamount to “genocide of the Russian-speaking population of Donbass.”

Putin accused Ukraine of “systematic” human rights violations and insisted that large-scale military exercises near the Ukrainian border were “purely defensive.” The Russian president, along with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, watched the nuclear exercise yesterday from his operations center in Moscow.

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