British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a televised address to the nation at noon following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The prime minister said the world cannot stand by and allow Ukraine’s freedom to be “strangled” as Moscow launches a wide-ranging strike against its neighbor, airstriking or shelling cities and bases.
Boris vowed that the UK “cannot and will not just look away” when Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine and vowed to team up with allies to respond with a massive package of sanctions designed to “impede the Russian economy.”
“This act of senseless and reckless aggression is not only an attack on Ukraine, it is an attack on democracy and freedom in Eastern Europe and around the world,” Johnson said.
He spoke to No. 10 after presiding over an emergency meeting of the Cobra committee on Thursday morning and is due to address the Commons in the evening.
Mr Johnson said the events were a “catastrophe” for the European continent as 40 people were confirmed to have died in Russian attacks.
Mr Johnson added that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was “a disaster for our continent” and called on Western allies and world leaders to meet and plan for a response.
The prime minister tweeted his remarks after presiding over an emergency meeting of the Cobra committee on Thursday morning. The Prime Minister is due to address the nation later, and to address the House of Commons tonight.
The Prime Minister said: “This is a disaster for our continent.
“This morning I will address the nation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“I will also speak with other G7 leaders and call for an urgent meeting of all NATO leaders as soon as possible.”
It came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law and urged people to stay at home amid reports of rocket attacks and explosions across the country.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, accused Putin of “bringing the war back to Europe.”
Zelensky called on the citizens of Ukraine to voluntarily participate in the resistance.
He said: “We will give weapons to everyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine on the squares of our cities.”
“We will remove sanctions from all citizens of Ukraine who are ready to defend our country within the framework of territorial defense with weapons in their hands.”
“We have severed diplomatic relations with Russia.”
“For everyone who has not yet lost their conscience in Russia, it’s time to come out and protest against the war with Ukraine.”
Russia said it had only targeted Ukrainian airbases and other military installations, not populated areas.
But in a televised address, Mr. Putin warned other countries that any attempt to thwart Russia’s actions would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”
He stated that Russia did not intend to occupy Ukraine, and blamed the Ukrainian “regime” for the bloodshed.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverley called the comments “aggressive” tactics and said the UK would respond with “unprecedented” sanctions “to punish the Russian leader’s terrible decision”.
A Downing Street spokesman told Politite that Mr Johnson assured Mr Zelenskiy during an early morning phone call that the West “will not stand by while President Putin wages his campaign against the Ukrainian people.”
Explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital Kiev shortly after Putin’s speech, and explosions were also reported in the cities of Odessa and Kharkov.
Elsewhere, footage emerged showing lines of people fleeing their homes and Russian troops crossing the border into Ukraine.
According to Putin, this action was a response to threats from Ukraine.
And in a warning to the international community, during his speech on Russian television, he said: “Whoever tries to hinder us, let alone pose threats to our country and its people, must know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead to consequences.” you have never seen in history.”
The Foreign Minister, Mr. Cleverly, spoiled his explanation.”
In an interview with the BBC, he said: “If Vladimir Putin thinks that he can scare the international community away from supporting Ukrainians in the defense of their homeland, then he is absolutely mistaken in this and should have absolutely no illusions that we will continue to support Ukrainian government and Ukrainian people”.
THE BRIT SHOULD LEAVING NOW
Transport Minister Grant Shapps instructed the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that airlines avoid Ukrainian airspace “after the horrific events of the night.”
Airlines have begun to suspend flights to and from Ukraine.
The British Foreign Office has advised British citizens to leave Ukraine immediately “if you think it’s safe”.
It added: “If you cannot leave safely, you should stay indoors, away from windows, and be aware of developments that will allow you to leave safely.”
British Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons repeated the call for the British to leave the country.
The leaders of the G7 countries – the UK, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan – will hold a virtual meeting to consider their response.
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, denounced Russia’s “despicable act of war” against Ukraine and also criticized the UK government for imposing “weak” sanctions on Monday.
European Commission President Ms von der Leyen said a package of large-scale and targeted sanctions would be presented to European leaders for approval.
More to come.