Boris Johnson accuses Vladimir Putin of ‘blackmailing’ West and warns Russian leader he’d be ‘mad’ to invade Ukraine


BORIS Johnson today accused Vladimir Putin of “blackmailing” the West and said he’d be “mad” to invade Ukraine.

The PM warned an attack on Kiev would be a “catastrophe for the world” as he urged the Kremlin to step back.

Boris Johnson accused the Kremlin of ‘blackmailing’ the West
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is at NATO today

And he made a direct plea to ordinary Russians to put pressure on Moscow to avoid huge bloodshed.

Speaking from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, he said Europe must end its dependence on Russian gas.

He said: “We can’t be blackmailed this way by Vladimir Putin – we’ve got to end that.

“I just want to say one thing finally about what’s happening in Ukraine – there is still time for the Putin regime to step back.

“There is still time to avoid a catastrophe, a catastrophe for Russia, a catastrophe for Ukraine and for the world.

“If Russia were so mad as to invade, I don’t think people should imagine that this would be a brief business.

“This would be a bloody and protracted conflict in which, I’m afraid, there will be many casualties and including many Russian casualties.

“I just hope that people in Russia can see that.”

He warned a mortar attack on a kindergarten near the border was a “false flag operation designed to discredit the Ukrainians”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace today said any invasion would be the most egregious land grab since Hitler annexed Czechoslovakia.

He said: “If he does invade Ukraine, he is grabbing territory in a way that we haven’t really seen since the Second World War.”

Putin has sent a further 7,000 soldiers to the Ukraine border, beefing up the 150,000 troops already massed in a dramatic escalation of tensions.

The act of aggression came after a breakthrough appeared to emerge amid reports Putin was ordering some of his troops back to base.

But a U.S. official slapped down the Kremlin’s claims, insisting: “We have now confirmed that in the last several days, Russia has increased its troop presence along Ukrainian border by as many as 7,000 troops, with some arriving as recently as today.”


British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss today warned the crisis could drag on for months and it was essential not to be “lulled into a false sense of security”.

Western intelligence is increasingly warning of a “false flag” plot to give Moscow a pretext for war.

Mr Wallace said scuppering these attempts were the best way of averting a fully-fledged invasion.

He said: “If you expose sub-threshold activity like false flags or plots, if you reveal them, you tend to pop the bubble off.

“I mean, you look rather stupid if you then go ahead with them having been exposed.

“That is the best way to deal with sub-threshold the best way to reveal some little green men plot.

“Sunlight does damage these sorts of conspiracy plots that are often part of the Russian playbook.”