Boris Johnson confronted by distraught Ukrainian woman - 'We have nowhere to run'

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·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
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Watch: Ukrainian woman breaks down in tears as she makes emotional appeal to Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has been confronted by a Ukrainian woman who broke down in tears as she called on the PM and Nato to protect her people from the "evil" being inflicted by Russian troops.

Daria Kaleniuk, the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre civil society organisation, managed to escape Ukraine a few days ago, crossing the border into Poland.

During a press conference in Poland, she told the PM her family and colleagues in Ukraine now "have nowhere to run" as thousands of refugees mass in queues stretching miles on the borders.

She implored the PM to enforce a no-fly zone over her country to protect civilians from Russian bombs, accusing Nato of being "afraid" to intervene.

A woman is in tears as she holds her child after fleeing from Ukraine because of the Russian invasion as they arrived with a bus at the village of Moszczany near the border checkpoint at Korczowa, Poland, March 1, 2022.   REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
A woman fights tears tears as she holds her child after fleeing from Ukraine as they arrived with a bus at the village of Moszczany near the border checkpoint at Korczowa, Poland. (Reuters)

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has called on the West to impose a no-fly zone for Russian planes and helicopters, but Nato leaders have said such a move would draw them into a direct conflict with Russia and risk nuclear war.

On Tuesday, images revealed a vast column of Russian military vehicles bearing down on Ukraine's capital Kyiv, while the second city of Kharkiv bore the brunt of the attack on Monday.

Ukrainian officials said dozens of people were killed and injured by missile strikes that hit civilian areas, and a local government building was shelled.

Kaleniuk called on Johnson to change his mind and impose the no-fly zone, asking "what's the alternative", when Ukrainian children are being killed.

(Sky News)
Daria Kaleniuk, the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre civil society organisation, confronted the PM (Sky News)

Read more: Ukraine's Zelenskyy urges West to consider no-fly zone for Russian aircraft

"Ukrainian women and Ukrainian children are living in deep fear because of bombs and missiles which are going from the sky," she said.

“Nato is not willing to defend because Nato is afraid of World War Three.

"But it’s already started and it’s Ukrainian children who are there taking the hit."

Watch: Video shows building being blown to bits by devastating Russian missile strike

This general view shows the damaged local city hall of Kharkiv on March 1, 2022, destroyed as a result of Russian troop shelling. - The central square of Ukraine's second city, Kharkiv, was shelled by advancing Russian forces who hit the building of the local administration, regional governor Oleg Sinegubov said. Kharkiv, a largely Russian-speaking city near the Russian border, has a population of around 1.4 million. (Photo by Sergey BOBOK / AFP) (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)
The local city hall of Kharkiv destroyed as a result of Russian troop shelling (Getty)

She further condemned Johnson for failing to hit Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire who owns Chelsea FC, with sanctions, saying: “You are talking about more sanctions, prime minister, but Roman Abramovich is not sanctioned, he’s in London, his children are not in the bombardments, his children are there in London.”

Johnson replied he was “acutely conscious that there is not enough we can do as the UK government to help in the way that you want”.

“Unfortunately the implication of that is the UK would be engaged in shooting down Russian planes, would be engaged in direct combat with Russia – that’s not something we can do”, he said.

“I think the consequences of that would be truly very, very difficult to control."

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg doubled down on his position to avoid direct conflict with Russia on Tuesday.

A girl covers herself with blanket after fleeing from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the border crossing in Siret, Romania, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
A girl covers herself with a blanket after fleeing from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the border crossing in Siret, Romania (Reuters)
A view shows a courtyard of the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack, in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy
A view shows a courtyard of the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack, in central Kharkiv, Ukraine (Reuters)

He repeated assertions that the alliance would not send troops or combat jets to support Kyiv as it does not want to become part of the conflict.

"Nato is a defensive alliance, we do not seek conflict with Russia. Russia must immediately stop the war, pull all its forces from Ukraine and engage in good faith in diplomatic efforts," he said.

Speaking in Geneva on Tuesday, foreign secretary Liz Truss warned “nothing and no one is off the table” when it comes to sanctions.

She told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva: “Putin is responsible for civilian casualties and over 500,000 people fleeing with the numbers still rising fast. The blood is on Putin’s hands, not just of innocent Ukrainians but the men he has sent to die.

“We’re using our collective heft, making up over half the world’s economy to cut funding from Putin’s war machine and we’re delivering severe economic costs through these sanctions as ordinary Russians are finding form queues at their local banks and rising interest rates."

Later, there was a mass walkout from the UN Human Rights Council as Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov spoke.

Truss said his statement was “full of disinformation” and did not deserve the attention of other members.

“Russia is isolated and should be ashamed to sit in the UN chamber,” she said.

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