Ukraine: Russia warned of ‘unprecedented sanctions’ by world leaders after crisis talks

·2-min read
Ukraine: Russia warned of ‘unprecedented sanctions’ by world leaders after crisis talks

Russia was warned it faces an “unprecedented package of sanctions” if it invades Ukraine after world leaders held talks over the crisis.

Joe Biden has said there is “total unanimity” with European leaders in the meeting over tackling Russia’s troop build-up on the border with Ukraine.

Joining the US and UK on a video call on Monday evening were the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the EU. Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg also dialled in.

Under efforts to deter Russian “aggression”, Mr Biden said the leaders discussed preparations to “impose severe economic costs” against Moscow while seeking to “reinforce security on the eastern flank”.

Downing Street said they stressed diplomatic discussions with Russia remains the first priority, but said the nation would be hit with “swift retributive responses” if a “further Russian incursion into Ukraine” takes place.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the leaders “agreed on the importance of international unity in the face of growing Russian hostility”.

Should a further Russian incursion into Ukraine happen, the leaders agreed that “allies must enact swift retributive responses including an unprecedented package of sanctions”, they added.

The Pentagon on Monday put 8,500 US troops on heightened alert, preparing them for a possible deployment to reassure Nato allies amid rising tensions.

 (AP)
(AP)

Earlier in the day, Mr Johnson warned in an interview that “gloomy” intelligence suggested Russia was planning a lightning raid on Kyiv, as British staff and their families began leaving the Ukrainian capital.

An estimated 100,000 Russian troops have massed at the border with Ukraine and intense diplomatic activity has failed to ease tensions.

Russia has denied it is planning to invade.

The Prime Minister warned Russian President Vladimir Putin, who in 2014 led a Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, that a fresh invasion would be a “disastrous step”.

The UK has pulled some embassy staff and their families out of Ukraine while the US also ordered the families of all American personnel at the US Embassy to leave the country in response the risk of an invasion.

But the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “We are not going to do the same thing” and Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said the US decision was “a premature step” and a sign of “excessive caution”.

Downing Street said British combat troops would not be used to defend Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Nato committed more ships and fighter jets to eastern Europe.

Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania, Spain is sending ships and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria, France has expressed its readiness to send troops to Romania, and the Netherlands is sending two F-35 fighter planes to Bulgaria from April.

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