Britain moves to provide more military support to Ukraine

LONDON (February 14): Britain is working on a package of military support and economic aid to Ukraine as the threat of a Russian invasion grows, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will travel to Europe later this week to build support to end the standoff with Russia. While there are no details on where Johnson would travel, his office said he wanted to engage more in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

“The crisis on the Ukrainian border has reached a critical point. All the information we have suggests that Russia could be planning an invasion of Ukraine at any time,” the spokesman said.

The United States and Britain have said Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an invasion before the end of the Winter Olympics on February 20 in what would be Europe’s biggest security crisis in decades.

Russia, which has more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, has denied accusations it was planning to invade and accused Western countries of spreading lies to distract from their own acts of aggression.

The spokesperson said Johnson was working with allies on the Ukraine support package to be announced in the coming days.

Britain has supplied anti-tank weapons and trained personnel to Ukraine, although those troops were ordered to leave this weekend.

“There is still a window of opportunity for de-escalation and diplomacy, and the prime minister will continue to work tirelessly alongside our allies to bring Russia back down,” the spokesperson said.

Britain’s support for Ukraine comes as Johnson grapples with the worst domestic political crisis of his premiership, with police investigating lockdown parties at his office and Downing Street residence. He is questioned by the police.

Allegations of rule violations have undermined Johnson’s authority and led some lawmakers in his ruling Conservative Party as well as opposition leaders to call on him to resign.