Britain is prepared to deploy troops to protect Nato allies in Europe should Russia invade Ukraine, Boris Johnson said, as he warned Vladimir Putin faces “ferocious” Ukrainian resistance.
The prime minister also said the UK and its allies stand ready to impose “heavy economic sanctions” on Russia and voiced fears that any invasion would result in “bloodshed comparable to the first war in Chechnya or Bosnia”.
Johnson told the House of Commons: “If Russia pursues this path, many Russian mothers’ sons will not be coming home. The response in the international community would be the same and the pain that would be inflicted on the Russian economy will be the same.”
He made an appeal for diplomacy to resolve the tensions and avoid a war that would “earn and would deserve the condemnation of history”.
Labour leader Keir Starmer said his party “stands resolute” in supporting Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty.
Earlier, foreign secretary Liz Truss failed to rule out UK combat troops being sent to help defend Ukraine – but told MPs such a scenario is “unlikely”.
Johnson, making a statement to the Commons, went on to say: “The British army leads the Nato battle group in Estonia and if Russia invades Ukraine, we would look to contribute to any new Nato deployments to protect our allies in Europe.”