Is partygate disrupting NATO? PMs controversy causing damaging distractions for west

Boris Johnson: Pornography in Commons is unacceptable

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Troubles facing Boris Johnson have come at an inopportune time in 2022, as the party prepares to contest local elections. While they primarily involve council and some mayoral seats, they will serve an additional function for the Conservatives, who will use the race to test the Prime Minister’s flailing leadership. Experts have suggested that the issues at play may even have a national significance as NATO supports Ukraine’s defence against Russia in Eastern Europe.

Vladimir Putin’s regime has mounted an aggressive incursion on the country since late February, which Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration has fought off with help from the military alliance and its partners.

The UK has become one of his regime’s most ardent supporters, having helped arm and train Ukrainian soldiers before and since the invasion began.

The Prime Minister became the first western premier to visit Kyiv earlier this month when he followed EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to meet Mr Zelensky on April 10.

While the visit offered him a brief polling reprieve, new revelations have left Mr Johnson on the back foot, forcing him to concentrate valuable time on the matter.

Experts believe they have proven distracting for the PM when NATO requires him to step up.

Erik Goldstein, a professor of international relations and history at Boston University’s Frederick S Pardee School of Global Studies, said the country should be serving as a NATO “pillar”.

He told Express.co.uk: “These are damaging distractions when the western alliance would benefit from a strong leadership role from London.

“The United Kingdom is a pillar of NATO and one of its three nuclear powers.”

“This is the moment to re-establish its role as the key link in the trans-Atlantic leadership and move beyond the now settled issue of Brexit.”

The war in Ukraine recently took a concerning turn, as Vladimir Putin levelled a series of new threats at the western military alliance.

While speaking to senators in St Petersburg on Thursday, he warned that the west was trying to turn Mr Zelensky’s country into “anti-Russia”.

He added that if anyone considered intervening in “ongoing events” from the outside, Russian officials would respond with “lightning-fast” retaliation.

Most western experts took his words as a thinly veiled threat of nuclear war, which has weighed heavily on the minds of many for months.

When quizzed about Putin’s latest remarks on LBC, defence secretary Ben Wallace was amongst those playing them down.

He told the station he did not “feel rattled” by the Russian President, adding the UK has “strong-armed forces”.

And he said NATO’s alliance of 30 outgun and outnumber him while possessing “potentially all the capabilities”.

Mr Wallace added Britons should be “very grateful” to rank among countries with a nuclear deterrent.

Other officials have dismissed the recent threats as the latest of a series that likely wouldn’t be followed through.

On February 7, three days after the invasion commenced, he announced that he had placed Russia’s military deterrent on “high alert”.

Putin made a similar threat when Sweden and Finland announced they would consider joining NATO, warning that Russia would have to move additional deterrents to its Baltic territory.

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