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PM to attend major security conference as tensions mount on Ukrainian border

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B

oris Johnson is set to join senior Government ministers at a major security conference in Munich this weekend amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

It comes as the UK warned the crisis in the region is at a “critical juncture”, with Russia accused of “manufacturing a pretext” for launching an attack.

At a dramatic session of the United Nations (UN) Security Council in New York on Thursday, US secretary of state Antony Blinken laid out how a Russian incursion could unfold in the coming days.

He said “missiles and bombs” could be dropped on Ukraine following a “manufactured provocation” for conflict, which could take the form of a “fabricated so-called terrorist bombing inside Russia”, or “a fake, even a real attack using chemical weapons”.

Earlier, the UK accused Moscow of orchestrating a “false flag operation” as a pretext for invasion, as tensions continued to mount between Russian-backed separatists and state forces in east Ukraine – with shells hitting a nursery school.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who was visiting Kyiv, said reports alleging “abnormal military activity” by Ukraine in the eastern Donbas region were a “blatant” attempt by the Kremlin to fabricate a reason for an incursion.

Speaking at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, the Prime Minister claimed there was a “false flag operation designed to discredit the Ukrainians” and “we fear very much that that is a thing we will see more of over the next few days”.

He warned that Russian president Vladimir Putin would be “mad” to invade because it would result in a “bloody and protracted conflict”.

Later, speaking at the UN Security Council session, Foreign Office minister James Cleverly called for Russia to “resolve this situation through peaceful means”.

“Upholding the core tenants of the charter in respect of peaceful resolution and respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity has never been more important,” he said.

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