Russia poll: How do you think UK should respond to Putins invasion of Ukraine?

Ukraine: Russian shelling filmed in Dnipro in east of country

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In the early hours of Thursday morning, President Vladimir Putin unleashed the power of Russian forces on Ukraine, with attacks reported on Ukrainian military targets, explosions recorded in several Ukrainian cities, and gunfire heard near the main Boryspil airport in the capital Kyiv. The Ukrainian government confirmed Russia had begun a “full-scale invasion of Ukraine”, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urging people not to panic as scenes emerged of desperate citizens trying to flee major cities. 

Responding to the news, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps. 

“President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine. 

“The UK and our allies will respond decisively.”

A number of sanctions have already been imposed by NATO allies against Russia in recent days, but there are calls for the West to do more to intervene. 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the EU will be considering “a package of massive and targeted sanctions” to block Russia’s access to technology and financial markets.

The UK will also be announcing new sanctions later today.

So what do you think, what should the UK do? Vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

The US, UK, EU and others had already imposed limited sanctions on Russia for recognising the independence of two breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine.

The measures targeted Russian banks and individuals, and took steps to cut Russia out of Western financial markets.

US sanctions announced on Tuesday aimed to hurt Russia’s ability to finance its military efforts.

And German chancellor Olaf Scholz dealt a blow when he put on hold permission for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany to open.

Other sanctions being considered are reported to include banning Russia from the US dollar, which would cripple Russia’s foreign trade, or blocking the sale of oil and gas to Western nations. 

However, all of these measures would have knock-on effects that would be detrimental to Western nations, too. 

If Russia’s oil and gas exports slump, it would have a huge knock-on effect on European countries which are all heavily dependent on Russian gas. 

At this stage, however, there is no appetite at all for NATO nations to intervene directly in Ukraine. 

On Thursday morning, Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told the BBC that while Ukraine was a “good friend” of the UK, it is not a NATO member and therefore there is no obligation for joint armed defence. 

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However, he said: “We do fear that this is the start of quite an extensive military operation. This is not just limited to the east. 

“There have been military strikes across a number of parts of Ukraine.”

Mr Cleverly said that sanctions against Russia would be announced “in waves” and warned it would be “the largest and most severe economic sanctions” package Russia had ever seen.

The said UK is also sending additional military support to eastern NATO member states and will support Ukrainians in their defence of their homeland.

But there has been some criticism about the strength of the UK’s reaction. 

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence select committee, said the West had failed to alter the trajectory of the Russian invasion and accused the UK of dithering over the crisis.

He said the UK’s “baffling” decision to hold back sanctions until after Russia’s incursion into Ukraine had not deterred Putin.

He said: “If Kyiv falls, history will ask why the West did not do more and why NATO’s hard power deterrents ‒ the one asset Putin fears ‒ was not better harnessed.”

He said Ukraine needed tangible support including weapons and communication systems, counter cyber capabilities and that a NATO no-fly zone would be a “gamechanger” in deterring Russia.

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