Boris Johnson sends warning to Russia as ‘invasion of Ukraine has begun

Boris Johnson has issued a warning to Vladimir Putin ahead of unveiling his ‘first barrage of economic sanctions’ against Russia.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has already begun, a cabinet minister said as Boris Johnson led a crisis meeting of ministers and senior officials to consider the response to Vladimir Putin’s actions.

The Government is preparing to slap sanctions on key Russian figures and businesses after President Putin recognised two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine as independent states.

At the 0630 meeting of the Cobra committee the Prime Minister was briefed on the latest intelligence after Mr Putin ordered his troops to carry out “peacekeeping” duties in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Boris Johnson issues warning to Vladimir Putin

The Prime Minister will address MPs and the nation in Commons today after warning Putin has “gravely miscalculated” the situation.

“He believes that Ukraine has no real right to exist as a sovereign, independent country,” the Prime Minister said.

“But that goes against everything that we struggled to achieve at the end of the Cold War, it goes against the aspirations of the Ukrainian people.

“The most difficult thing now for Vladimir Putin in prosecuting this war… he will come up against something that I think will be very hard for him to beat, and that is the Ukrainian sense of national pride and their determination to defend their country and to fight for it.”

Mr Johnson warned the UK’s sanctions will hit the “economic interests that have been supporting Russia’s war machine”.

Speaking after a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee, the Prime Minister said: “They will hit Russia very hard and there is a lot more that we are going to do in the event of an invasion.

“Be in no doubt that if Russian companies are prevented from raising capital on the UK financial markets, if we unpeel the facade of Russian ownership of companies, of property, it will start to hurt.”