Johnson was speaking at a press conference alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stolenberg, in reference to Russia’s objection to Ukraine’s accession to NATO, because it considers the matter a security threat approaching its borders.
The British Prime Minister confirmed the readiness to impose sanctions on Russia, in light of expectations that it would invade Ukraine, but stressed the desire for a diplomatic option.
For his part, the Secretary-General of NATO said, “We will not give up our basic principles, especially the right of countries to join the alliance.”
Meanwhile, in the Belgian capital, Brussels, Stolenberg said, “We are ready to listen to Russia’s concerns.”
In January, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it was wrong to seek to strengthen the security of one country at the expense of another, when speaking of the West’s determination to include Ukraine in NATO.
Today, Thursday, Ukraine will start military exercises that had been announced in advance, in response to exercises conducted by Russia on the territory of neighboring Belarus, which Kiev and the West interpreted as coming within the framework of a Russian military escalation in the region.
Russia will launch the practical phase of its large-scale exercises in Belarus today, Thursday, in a show of force that shows how Russia’s tightening of its grip on Minsk gave it great capabilities in its confrontation with the West over Ukraine.
Russia’s joint “Allied Resilience” exercise, which NATO has described as the largest military build-up in Belarus since the Cold War, continues until February 20 and is seen as part of a Russian military build-up near Ukraine that has raised fears of a possible invasion.