Boris Johnson: Russian war with Ukraine would be ‘catastrophic for the world’

A Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “catastrophic for the world”, the Prime Minister has said.

The comment came as Boris Johnson was asked how the Government would respond to claims that the UK was in a “hybrid war” with Russia, which is reported to have troops lining up along its border with Ukraine.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, senior Tory backbencher Sir Bernard Jenkin listed “Russian forces massing on the Ukrainian border” and other activities such as “interfering with western elections” as worrying activities from the country.

The Harwich and North Essex MP asked: “How much does the Government understand that President Putin is conducting a hybrid war against the west and how is the Government responding to it?”

He added: “There is a particular crisis that we face on the border with Ukraine where Russian troops have been massing for some time as the House knows.

“I told President Putin on Monday what I think everybody in the G7 and more widely is agreed, that if Russia were so rash and mad as to engage in an invasion of sovereign territory of Ukraine, then there would be an extremely tough package of economic sanctions, mounted by our allies, mounted by the UK and our friends around the world.

“There would also, of course, be support for Ukraine, there would inevitably be the build-up of Nato forces in the periphery regions and as I told President Putin, I believe any such action would be catastrophic not just for Russia and for Ukraine, but for the world.”

Elsewhere in the debate, Mr Johnson rubbished claims of a 10% staff cut in the Foreign Office as “fake news”.

Conservative foreign affairs committee chairman, Tom Tugendhat, asked: “Will he share the concern that I have about reports I have just got from the Foreign Office that there is a staff cut of 10% across the board? How is this compatible with Global Britain?”

The Prime Minister replied: “We are investing massively in overseas aid, we are investing massively – £10 billion a year in overseas aid.

“This country is spending – I think we are the biggest spender in Europe overseas. £54 billion. If you look at what (we) are doing on aid, on the Foreign Office, on defence, we are the biggest spender overseas, the biggest spender on overseas activity of any country in Europe.

“I know he is an expert on foreign affairs, but I can tell him that the recent information that has trickled into his ears is, I am assured by my friend, the Foreign Secretary, fake news.”

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