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Johnson urges west to show Putin he will pay ‘high price’ for Ukraine invasion

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B

oris Johnson has called for western leaders to unite against Vladimir Putin and show the Russian leader he will pay a “high price” if he sends his troops into Ukraine.

The Prime Minister will head to the Munich Security Conference on Saturday to make a plea for “unnecessary bloodshed” to be avoided by pursuing a diplomatic route to prevent a conflict in eastern Europe.

The annual summit comes against a backdrop of President Joe Biden warning that the US has reason to believe Russian forces “intend to attack” Ukraine in the coming days, including targeting the capital Kyiv – a city with a population of 2.8 million people.

Mr Biden told a White House press briefing on Friday he was “convinced” Mr Putin had “made the decision” to move his military across the border, having spent weeks saying he thought the Russian leader was undecided.

Only hours before his statement, the UK Foreign Office announced it had decided to “temporarily” move its diplomats out of Kyiv, relocating them to the west of the country.

The department said British embassy officials will relocate to Lviv, situated near the border with Poland.

With estimates that 150,000 Russian troops are posted around Ukraine’s borders, Mr Johnson has previously called the situation “very grim”.

But in comments made before embarking on his trip to Germany, the Prime Minister said “diplomacy can still prevail” if the West puts on a united front in terms of agreeing punishing sanctions to slap on Moscow.

“There is still a chance to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, but it will require an overwhelming display of western solidarity beyond anything we have seen in recent history,” he said.

“Allies need to speak with one voice to stress to President Putin the high price he will pay for any further Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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