Senior Tory MP calls on UK to take military action against Russia in Ukraine

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·Political Correspondent, Yahoo News UK
·5-min read
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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 21, 2022. - President Vladimir Putin said on February 21, 2022, he would make a decision
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of the Ukraine on Thursday. (Getty

A senior Conservative MP has called on the UK and its Western allies to deploy military support to Ukraine after Vladimir Putin launched a "full-scale invasion".

In an address ahead of the invasion, the Russian president warned of the "greatest consequences in history" for anyone who interfered.

Read more: These two maps explain how Russia has launched the war in Ukraine

Russian troops marched across Ukraine on Thursday, with missile strikes and explosions reported throughout the country.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his citizens were listening to the sound of a new Iron Curtain falling, after Moscow mounted a massed assault by land, sea and air in the biggest attack on a European state since the Second World War.

Zelenskyy warned that other European countries may be next.

Conservative MP David Davis takes part in the launch of a proposed UK-EU free trade agreement in London on February 6, 2019. - Plans for Britain to leave the European Union on March 29 under a withdrawal agreement signed last year were thrown into doubt when British lawmakers rejected the accord. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Senior Conservative MP David Davis has called on the West to send military support to Ukraine. (Getty Images)
A girl walks past an apartment building, which locals said was damaged by recent shelling, in the separatist-controlled town of Yasynuvata (Yasinovataya) in the Donetsk region, Ukraine February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
A girl walks past an apartment building, which locals said was damaged by recent shelling, in the separatist-controlled town of Yasynuvata (Yasinovataya) in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. (Reuters)

Western leaders have reacted in horror to the invasion.

Boris Johnson has vowed that Britain “cannot and will not just look away” and pledged to unite with allies to respond with sanctions designed to “hobble the Russian economy”.

Late on Thursday, he announced the government’s largest ever package of economic sanctions against Russia including an immediate asset freeze on all major Russian banks.

However, the UK prime minister has previously faced criticism for not being tougher with Putin in the run-up to war with many MPs saying the sanctions outlined earlier this week are not enough.

One senior Conservative MP, David Davis, called on the UK to retaliate with direct military involvement to prevent further escalation.

"Whether we like it or not Putin has effectively declared war on the West," Davis, a former Cabinet minister, said.

"He will view confining our actions to Article 5 measures as legalistic weakness."

Ukrainians hold a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine outside Downing Street, central London . Picture date: Thursday February 24, 202.
Ukrainians hold a protest against the Russian invasion outside Downing Street, London. (PA Images)

Article 5 is a key part of the Nato alliance which states that an attack against one member state is considered as an attack against all 30 countries.

While Davis said it was "far too late" for the UK to put troops on the ground in Ukraine, he said "it is not too late to provide air support to the Ukrainian army which may neutralise Putin's overwhelming armoured superiority".

He added: "There are no zero-risk options. If we do not act militarily, then Nato will be significantly weakened and we must fear for the safety of every state that borders Russia...

"Ultimately it is a trade-off between two outcomes - whether we defend the democratic rights of more than 40 million Ukrainians or fail to act now and be forced to act later but at a possible greater cost."

Read more: Moment Sky News reporter in Ukraine runs for cover to escape shelling

On Thursday in an address to the nation, Johnson called Putin "the Russian dictator" and said the UK supported Ukraine's right to sovereignty - however, he stopped short of saying the UK would send military support.

"It's an attack on democracy and freedom - in eastern Europe and around the world," he said.

"This crisis is about the right of a free, sovereign, independent people to choose their own future. That is a right the UK will always defend."

People gather at a bus station as they try to leave the city of Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022.  REUTERS/Volodymyr Petrov
People gather at a bus station as they try to leave the city of Kyiv in Ukraine (Reuters)
People are seen stuck in a huge traffic jam as they try to leave Kyiv in the direction of the western parts of the country on February 24, 2022. - Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, forcing residents to flee for their lives and leaving at least 40 Ukrainian soldiers and 10 civilians dead. Russian air strikes hit military facilities across the country and ground forces moved in from the north, south and east, triggering condemnation from Western leaders and warnings of massive sanctions. (Photo by GENYA SAVILOV / AFP) (Photo by GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images)
People are seen stuck in a huge traffic jam as they try to leave Kyiv in the direction of the western parts of the country. (Getty Images)

James Cleverly, minister of state for Europe and North America, emphasised that while Ukraine was a "good friend" it is "not a member state of Nato".

"Nato's a defensive organisation, and our responsibility is to support our Nato allies - which is why we have sent troops and equipment to the eastern Nato allies," he said.

"And, whilst Ukraine is not a Nato state, we will continue to support them in their self-defence against this Russian attack."

On Thursday afternoon, Lithuania – a Nato state bordering Ukraine – announced it had declared a state of emergency in response Russia's invasion.

Read more: 'Forget about 80p for bread': Fears Ukraine war will be disastrous for cost of living crisis

General Sir Richard Sherriff, Britain’s former top Nato commander, has called the Ukraine situation the most perilous in Europe for decades.

He said that while the war would initially be between Ukraine and Russia, the possibility that Nato could get involved is “very real”.

He told the BBC: “Nato has got to man the ramparts now", adding that the West has to “assume the worst” when it comes to Russia’s nuclear strategy.

A child arrives to the border of Ukraine-Slovakia, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Vysne Nemecke, Slovakia, February 25, 2022. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa
A child arrives to the border of Ukraine-Slovakia, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Vysne Nemecke, Slovakia, February 25, 2022. (Reuters)

To justify Russian aggression, Putin has claimed Ukraine is a threat to Moscow, that the country is controlled by neo-Nazis and that it is committing genocide in the east of the country.

Western leaders have ridiculed these claims.

On Friday afternoon, Putin hinted that he was open to talks with Ukraine, but required demilitarisation first. He also repeated false claims about the country being run by Nazis.

"I would like to address the Ukrainian army men, do not let these nationalists use you, your women, your children, your elderly, use them as human shields," he said.

"It will be so much easier to talk to you, to negotiate with you than with this gang of Nazis that have captured Kyiv."

Watch: Russia launches full-scale attack on Ukraine as Putin warns U.S. and NATO

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