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Johnson to discuss Ukraine crisis with Biden and G7 as Russian threat grows

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B

oris Johnson is expected to discuss the deepening crisis in Ukraine with Joe Biden and other G7 leaders after Russia further fanned fears it is trying to create a pretext for war.

Kyiv declared a nationwide state of emergency and was braced for an all-out invasion following a Kremlin declaration that rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine had requested military assistance.

The White House said the plea from Russian-backed separatists was an example of the “false-flag” operation the West was expecting Vladimir Putin would use to strike.

Under increasing pressure to go further on sanctions against those supporting the Russian president, Mr Johnson is expected to join a virtual meeting of G7 leaders on Thursday.

Washington confirmed the US president will participate in the call after Mr Biden increased his economic action against Moscow by targeting measures against the company that built the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an emotional televised address in Russian after a 30-day state-of-emergency order handing the government sweeping powers in the interest of national security was approved.

“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace. But if we come under attack that threatens our freedom and lives of our people we will fight back,” he said, as he rejected Moscow’s claim Ukraine is a threat to Russia.

Following Mr Zelensky’s speech, the UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting at the request of Ukraine, which said there is an immediate threat of a Russian invasion.

Mr Johnson has vowed the UK will send more lethal defensive weapons and other aid to bolster Ukraine’s resistance to a fully-fledged Russian offensive.

Downing Street cited “operation security reasons” in not detailing what equipment would be dispatched, but Britain has previously sent anti-tank firepower to Ukraine.

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