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Ukraine at risk as ‘not altogether obvious' West would intervene if Vladimir Putin invades




Ukraine: Russian videos purport to show military withdrawing

Boris Johnson said this afternoon that there are “mixed signals” from Russia, despite its announcement that it was removing some troops from the Ukrainian border. The Prime Minister said the latest intelligence is “not encouraging” but that talks have shown “signs of a diplomatic opening”. Intelligence, he said, suggests field hospitals are being constructed near the border in what could only be considered as “preparation for an invasion”. Russia denies an attack is being planned, despite the presence of a reported 130,000 troops along its shared border with Ukraine.

While the West has stood by Ukraine throughout the tensions, Dr Paul Flenley, an expert in Russian foreign policy and Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Portsmouth, told that it is not explicitly clear that it would militarily intervene if President Vladimir Putin orders an attack.

He said: “If he went in and took the eastern part of Ukraine — and this is something he’s exploiting and that’s becoming increasingly obvious — there wouldn’t necessarily be unity in the West as to what to do.

“The extent to which the West would intervene to help the Ukrainians, there’s a lot of vagueness about the nature of any kind of unified Western threat, and there’s an unwillingness.

“This is all partly testing the West since the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“There appears to be an unwillingness, on the part of the US particularly, to engage directly in military ventures.

READ MORE: Moscow’s chilling Cold War plot for seven-day nuclear fight with NATO

Vladimir Putin and Boris Johnson

Ukraine cannot be certain the West would militarily intervene, according to Dr Flenley. (Image: GETTY)

Ballistic missiles

Ballistic missiles fired during Russian and Belarusian military exercises. (Image: GETTY)

“If Putin was mad and decided to take Kiev, it’s not altogether obvious that the West would militarily do anything.”

Dr Flenley speculated possible strike sanctions, but “nothing substantial” in terms of military intervention.

He added that there is “no appetite” for military intervention.

While NATO has supplied Ukraine with arms, it has no obligation to defend the country as it is not a member of the Alliance, nor does it plan to send troops to the country.

Instead, it is bolstering its own defences in member countries from Estonia down to Bulgaria.

US soldiers wait to be deployed

US soldiers wait to be deployed to Eastern Europe (Image: GETTY)

The US has sent some 3,000 soldiers to Poland and Romania, with a further 8,500 on heightened alert should NATO decide to deploy its Response Force.

Regarding potential sanctions, Mr Johnson today said that the UK has been “out in the lead for a while” with threatening economic sanctions on Russia.

He said: “What we’re doing is targeting particular Russian banks, Russian companies, and making sure that we take steps or take even more steps to unpeel the facade of Russian property holdings, whether in London or elsewhere.

“Unpeel the facade of Russian ownership of companies and also take steps to stop Russian companies from raising capital on London financial markets.

“Now that is a very, very tough package of sanctions. It’s ready to go if Russia is so rash, so reckless as to invade Ukraine.”

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Russia vs Ukraine military

How the Russian and Ukrainian militaries compare. (Image: Express Newspapers)

However, it would appear that these sanctions would come as little deterrence to Putin and the Kremlin.

Viktor Tatarintsev, Russia’s ambassador to Sweden, gave an interview to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet over the weekend where he claimed that Russia did not care about any prospective sanctions.

He said: “Excuse my language, but we don’t give a s*** about all their sanctions.

“We have already had so many sanctions and in that sense, they’ve had a positive effect on our economy and agriculture.”

He added: “New sanctions are nothing positive but not as bad as the West makes it sound.

Kyiv reporter reveals how Ukrainians really feel about Russia

“The more the West pushes Russia, the strong the Russian response will be.”

He did, however, seek to clarify that “the last thing people in Russia want is war”.

Dr Flenley echoed such sentiments, saying an invasion would have “enormous” repercussions within Russia itself.

He said: “Psychologically, the consequences would be enormous. It wouldn’t fit well with the whole rhetoric of Ukrainians as our brothers, and they should be part of a wider association.

“An invasion of Ukraine would just be a disaster for all that ideology that Putin has.”

Dr Flenley explained that holding Kiev and establishing an alternative government would be logistically enormous, especially against Ukrainian resistance.

He added: “Kiev is very different from eastern Ukraine where there’s a degree of support for Russia and relative alienation from Kiev.

“But to take Kiev itself would be seen to be madness really, and would have repercussions for Russia at home.

“People would start complaining, ‘What are we doing invading our brothers in Kiev? We’re supposed to be brothers with the Ukrainians’.”

For the moment, life in Kiev appears relatively normal.

However, the city’s mayor Vitaly Klichko said on Saturday that local authorities had approved an evacuation plan in case of a possible invasion.



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'This is huge' Swedish Air Force jet deployed over Belarus border in threat to Putin




The Scandinavian country is not a member of NATO, but could be ready to trade in its neutral status in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

News of Stockholm’s decision to send a jet was revealed by twitter user Jamming.

They wrote: “Swedish Air Force Korpen active over Poland border area with Belarus.

“Sweden part of surveillance of Belarus and Ukraine!!!

“This is a huge political statement! Update on SwAF Korpen.”


The Gulfstream IV aircraft was tracked taking off from Linking airport and then flying towards the city of Grodno in western Belarus.

It was flying at an altitude of just under 12,000 metres at a speed of 836 kilometres per hour.

Although Sweden is not a NATO member, it is an “enhanced opportunity partner” of the military alliance.

The government also signed a statement in 2018 pledging to strengthen its defence cooperation.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson rejected calls by opposition parties earlier this month for the country to join NATO.

She argued that such a move would further destabilise Europe.

Her statement came in the wake of threats from Moscow that NATO membership would bring “serious military-political consequences” for Sweden.

However, there is growing public support among Swedes for their country to join the transatlantic military alliance.

A poll conducted in late February by broadcaster SVT found that 41 percent of the public supported NATO membership, while thirty-five percent were against.

It was the first time an opinion study in Sweden had found more people in favour of the country joining NATO than were against it.



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Putin humiliated: Russia tries and fails to capture defiant Ukraine village for tenth time




Russia has tried and failed to capture the village of the Chornobaevka ten times, according to Ukrainian presidential adviser Aleksey Arestovich. Videos shared by Ukrainian officials online showed the “tenth defeat of the Russian invaders in Chornobaevka”. The continued failures to capture the village comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last night that his country’s forces had “dealt powerful blows” to the Russian military.

Mr Arestovich told a press conference that Russian troops had tried to take Chornobaevka for the tenth time, but the assault again ended in failure.

Following this, the head of the nearby Mykolaiv Regional State Administration Vitaly Kim published a video showing “the defeat” as explosions erupt on the outskirts of the village.

The resolute village has become famous in Ukraine for its defence, as President Zelensky commended Chornobaivka last weekend for fending off six invasions at the time.

He said: “Ukrainian Chornobaivka will go down in war history. This is a place where the Russian military and their commanders have shown themselves for who they truly are – incompetent, capable of simply handing over their people for slaughter.

“Our military has annihilated the invaders near Chornobaivka six times.

“Six times, yet they keep coming back.”

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Online users ridiculed the latest Russian failures and hailed the Ukrainian defiance, with one Reddit user remarking: “At some point, I think every military intelligence outfit looking at this must be wondering how bad the rot is in the Russian military.”

One user visavillem added: “So this is the 10th time. Are Russians trying to bait Ukrainians to waste ammo with some obsolete/broken equipment, or are they really so stupid, that they keep stepping on the same rake again and again?”

Another user on Reddit adfgqert posted: “The Ukrainian people have resolve and determination that is beyond what I think is normal.

“Beyond inspirational and they bring fighting for what they believe in to a new level for me.” 

This comes amid ongoing setbacks for Russian military forces in the south of the country.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Russia had withdrawn most of its helicopters from a strategic airport in Kherson, in southern Ukraine, according to satellite images.

Kherson has also been the site of several local protests against the occupying Russian soldiers.

The official said: “We can’t corroborate exactly who is in control of Kherson but the point is, it doesn’t appear to be as solidly in Russian control as it was before.

“That would make it very, very difficult for them to make any kind of ground movement on Odesa.

“That would be a significant development, no question about that, in terms of the southern part of the war.” 


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