London, Wednesday, 2 February 2022 -
A new Russian intervention into Ukraine would be a political, humanitarian, and military disaster, according to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spoke in Kyiv on Tuesday.
Johnson claimed intelligence shows a "imminent military campaign" at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, replying to Russian assertions that Western countries have exaggerated the threat.
Johnson and Zelensky met in Kiev "to discuss ongoing Russian unfriendly behavior, including military buildup," according to Johnson.
"We see enormous numbers of troops assembling, we see preparations for all kinds of operations compatible with an impending military campaign," the British prime minister stated.
The Russians, Johnson added, need to understand that Ukraine "will fight," and that 200,000 people are prepared to put up a "very, very ferocious and deadly struggle."
"I sincerely hope that President [Vladimir] Putin takes a step back from the path of war and that we engage in discussion," he said, adding that "that is what the UK is keen on producing and that is why I'm here today."
The two leaders were supposed to talk over the phone on Tuesday, but it was pushed back until Wednesday.
Ukrainians are prepared to fight 'to the bitter end.'
"We must be prepared for awful things," Zelensky added, adding that Ukrainians will fight "to the very end."
He encouraged Russia to "listen and recognize that a conflict is something that no one truly needs," warning that any assault against Ukraine would be "tragic."
"This will not be a battle between Ukraine and Russia," he said, but rather "a European conflict" and "a full-fledged war."
"The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine in the face of escalating Russian aggression, which threatens regional peace and security and undermines the global order," Johnson and Zelensky said in a joint statement.
During the discussion, the two leaders highlighted that "every Ukrainian has the right to select their own future."
Any further Russian push into Ukraine, they said, would be "a major geopolitical error with a colossal humanitarian cost."
According to the statement, the two countries agreed to "operate together to bolster Ukraine's security and ability to defend itself."
The leaders also "emphasized their commitment to bolstering Ukraine's energy security and supporting the country's efforts to make the transition to a green economy."
According to the release, Johnson "announced £88 million ($118.9 million) in new funds to support initiatives to strengthen Ukraine's resilience and reduce dependency on Russian energy imports."
(Written and edited by: The Decision Maker)