Britain has said that any Russian incursion into Ukraine would be met with swift sanctions and would be devastating for both sides. Prime Minister
Britain has said that any Russian incursion into Ukraine would be met with swift sanctions and would be devastating for both sides. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to visit the region next week, and also will speak to Vladimir Putin by phone.
Mr Johnson is considering the biggest possible offer to members of the NATO defence pact in the Nordics and Baltics, which would double troop numbers with an extra 1,000 boots on the ground and send defensive weapons to Estonia, his office said.
He said: “This package would send a clear message to the Kremlin we will not tolerate their destabilising activity, and we will always stand with our NATO allies in the face of Russian hostility.
“I have ordered our Armed Forces to prepare to deploy across Europe next week, ensuring we are able to support our NATO allies.”
Officials will finalise the details of the offer in Brussels next week, with ministers discussing the military options on Monday.
Stepping up diplomatic efforts after facing criticism for not doing enough, Johnson will make a second trip to meet NATO counterparts early next month, his office said.
Britain’s foreign and defence ministers will also both go to Moscow for talks with their Russian counterparts in coming days, with the aim of improving relations and de-escalating tensions.
It comes as Ireland’s foreign affairs minister has said that Russia is to move its planned military drills outside the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Simon Coveney said on Saturday he has received assurances from his Russian counterpart that the drills will not take place off the south-west coast of Ireland.
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“I welcome this response.”
In a statement, the Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov said: “In response to the requests from the Irish government as well as from the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Sergey Shoigu has made a decision.
“As a gesture of goodwill, to relocate the exercises by the Russian Navy, planned for February 3 to 8, outside the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ), with the aim not to hinder fishing activities by the Irish vessels in the traditional fishing areas.”