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Boris Johnson flies to Poland as more UK troops go on standby for eastern Europe

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ne thousand British troops are being put on standby in case of a humanitarian crisis in eastern Europe if the current Russian military build-up leads to war, Downing Street has announced.

Boris Johnson flies to Poland on Thursday in a further show of support for a key Nato ally amid continuing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

At the same time Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is in Moscow for talks with her counterpart Sergei Lavrov as Western powers continue to urge President Vladimir Putin to draw back from conflict.

British officials warned any further Russian incursion into Ukraine would be a “humanitarian disaster” leading to a mass displacement of people, which would particularly affect countries like Poland and Lithuania.

Additional troops are being paced on readiness to provide a humanitarian response if required, although they could also be used to provide further support to allies in the region.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine (Peter Nicholls/PA) / PA Wire

Meanwhile 350 Royal Marines from 45 Commando are to begin deploying to Poland as part of a further strengthening of UK support to the country announced earlier this week.

In December the UK sent 100 Royal Engineers to the country after Moscow’s ally Belarus engineered a refugee crisis on the border.

Ahead of his visit to Warsaw, Mr Johnson insisted the West must stand firm in the face of Mr Putin’s “coercive diplomacy”.

He made clear that Nato could not accept a key Kremlin demand that there should be no further enlargement of the alliance.

“When Nato was founded, allies made an historic undertaking to safeguard the freedom of every member state.

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