Boris Johnson To hold Cobra Meeting Today To Discuss Ukraine After Putin ‘Orders Troops’ Into Rebel Territory
BORIS Johnson will hold a Cobra meeting this morning to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine, a No 10 spokesperson has said.
The emergency response follows reports Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine just hours after recognising Russian rebel states following a Bond Villain-style meeting.
The Russian leader signed a decree recognising the independence of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine last night – paving the way to provide them military support.
The move also triggered threats of new sanctions from the US and Europe and further fuelled fears that Russia could imminently invade Ukraine.
Mr Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy yesterday evening to pledge Britain’s steadfast support in the face of Russia’s aggression.
And he will use Tuesday’s Cobra meeting, which is scheduled to take place at 6.30am, to “coordinate the UK response”, including agreeing a “significant package of sanctions to be introduced immediately”, the No 10 spokesperson said.
They warned the PM believes an invasion is “a real possibility in the coming hours and days”.
And they added: “The Prime Minister strongly condemned the Kremlin’s decision today to recognise Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states, and said the move made the Minsk agreements and process unworkable.”
Putin has now reportedly despatched his troops to enter Ukraine on a “peacekeeping mission” after recognising the regions as independent states.
According to the decree he signed, the Kremlin leader has ordered his defence ministry to order Russian peacekeepers into the breakaway regions.
No date for any deployment was provided by Moscow, with the order saying that it “comes into force from the day it was signed”.
In a TV address to the Russian nation tonight, the former KGB officer spoke with frightening fervour about Ukraine’s place in Russia’s orbit – suggesting his ambitions may extend to a complete takeover.
After a rambling address, he said modern Ukraine was “created” by Russia – before issuing a direct threat.
He ranted: “So you want de-communisation? That suits us.
“But let’s not stop half way. We are prepared to show you what real de-communisation looks like.”
It comes after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK will announce new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday “in response to their breach of international law and attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Joe Biden has also “strongly condemned” Putin’s decision to recognise the independence of the states as he reassured President Volodymyr Zelensky[/b]y of the US’ “commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
After his speech, [b]Putin signed decrees recognizing the Donetsk and Luhansk region’s independence – eight years after fighting erupted between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces – and called on lawmakers to approve measures paving the way for military support.
Until now, Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of supporting the separatists, but Moscow has denied that, saying that Russians who fought there were volunteers.
At an earlier meeting of Putin’s Security Council, a stream of top officials argued for recognising the region’s independence.