Will the UK join a war with Russia? West in crisis talks over Ukraine
Russia: Putin 'will face serious consequences' says Joe Biden
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Tensions between Russia and the west are at a breaking point as the threat of a Kremlin invasion in Ukraine becomes more and more likely. NATO and western allies have been locked in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to deescalate the situation.
But despite previous threats from the US and EU to sanction Russia, President Biden stepped up the stakes at the weekend by warning the nation could send tens of thousands of troops, warships and aircraft to Ukraine.
On January 22, the White House announced its first support package had arrived in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.
Officials sent over a shipment of “lethal aid” – weapons and ammunition – according to a release from the White House.
US intelligence has found Russia has a war plan envisioning an invasion force of 175,000 troops that Ukraine’s military, despite provided equipment and training from NATO, would have little ability to stop.
READ MORE: Joe Biden told UK can’t be trusted as war ally
Will there be a war?
President Biden has said that an invasion would be “the most consequential thing that’s happened in the world in terms of war and peace since World War II.”
Current intelligence assessments from White House officials have concluded that the Kremlin is yet to make a decision on whether it will invade Ukraine.
Talks are ongoing between the US and Russia, who want to halt further eastward expansion and agree not to admit Ukraine as a member of NATO.
It forms part of Mr Putin’s plan to redraw the post Cold War boundaries of Europe and reinforce its security zone by bringing Ukraine back into the fold.
The UK, US and EU have committed to these demands being completely untenable.
If Russia does stage an incursion in Ukraine, the west has confirmed it will react with severe sanctions on Russia.
In response, Mr Putin has warned that imposing fresh sanctions would lead to a “complete rupture” in relations with Washington.
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Will the UK join a war?
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has confirmed the UK will support Ukraine in any conflict.
He said: “We will support them in defending themselves. But also, to the international community, to NATO allies in the West, we’re standing shoulder to shoulder saying there will be very serious consequences if Russia takes this move to try and invade and also install a puppet regime.”
However, he declined to go as far as saying the UK would send troops to defend Ukraine.
Mr Raab continued: “It’s extremely unlikely we would do that but what we can say is we’re already willing and engaging in training programmes to support Ukrainians defending themselves, that’s absolutely right.”
Defence secretary Ben Wallace announced on January 17 that it was supplying Ukraine with light anti-tank weaponry.
Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons, he said the arms were “short-range and clearly defensive”.
He added they were “not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia; they are to use in self-defence”.
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