Boris sends boldest warning yet to Putin as PM hailed for 'leading West' against Russia

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Boris Johnson was roundly praised for his tough-talking speech at the Munich Security Conference today. The speech was seen as the most hardline speech given at the annual security conference. The British Prime Minister was praised afterwards by both supporters and critics alike for “defending a free Europe” and being the most outspoken Western leader against Russian aggression in Ukraine. 

In his rallying speech, Mr Johnson warned allies that “if Ukraine is invaded, we will witness the destruction of a democratic state”. 

He said that Russia must fail and be seen to fail if Moscow dares to overrun Ukraine using brute force.

The Prime Minister warned the world has to be “unflinchingly honest” about the situation in Ukraine and should not “underestimate the gravity of this moment”.

Mr Johnson added he does not know what Russian President Vladimir Putin intends, but suggested that the “omens are grim.”

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He added: “Every time that Western ministers have visited Kyiv, we have assured the people of Ukraine and their leaders that we stand foursquare behind their sovereignty and independence.

“How hollow, how meaningless, how insulting those words would seem, if at the very moment when their sovereignty and independence is imperilled, we simply look away.

“If Ukraine is invaded, we will witness the destruction of a democratic state. We stand full square behind their independence.

“After a generation of freedom in Ukraine we are now staring at a generation of bloodshed and misery.

“I believe Russia would have nothing to gain from this catastrophic adventure, and everything to lose.”

Following the speech, Antonello Guerrera, a correspondent of Italy’s Repubblica, tweeted: “Great, powerful, inspiring speech by Boris Johnson in Munich on Russia and Ukraine. Very wise, tough words in defence of a free Europe.”

James Johnson, who co-founded JL Partners Polling, added: “Genuinely quite powerful speech by Boris Johnson at #MSC2022.

“Russia has ‘nothing to gain and everything to lose’ with war, with Russian parents set to mourn the loss of soldiers’ lives, ‘in their way every bit as innocent’ as those in Ukraine.”

Serap Altinisik, head of the Plan International EU Office, said: “Who would have thought I would applause a speech of ⁦Boris Johnson? But what a strong and clear speech on the situation in Ukraine.”

Noah Barkin, a geopolitical researcher, tweeted: “Regardless of what you think about Boris Johnson, he has risen to the occasion at #MSC2022 with a clear & compelling message on Russia, democratic values & even the Indo-Pacific & Chinese coercion against Lithuania. Other leaders missed their opportunity to do so.”

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Ghanem Nuseibeh, a visiting fellow at Harvard, tweeted: “Boris Johnson at his best at #MSC2022.

“He really is leading the rest of the Western world on Russian threats & implications for China. The free world must listen.”

Boris Johnson’s foreign minister Liz Truss and defence minister Ben Wallace are also attending the conference.

Earlier in the day, US defence secretary Lloyd Austin suggested that Russia’s military was “poised to strike” Ukraine.

On the ground in Ukraine, Russian-backed breakaway eastern territories have ordered military mobilisations amid a deadly escalation in fighting.

International monitors have reported a “dramatic increase” in attacks along the line dividing rebel and government forces.



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