Russia is planning “the biggest war in Europe since 1945,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the BBC in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“I’m afraid to say that the plan we see is for something that could truly be the biggest war in Europe since 1945,” he said.
He added that “people need to understand that the enormous costs in human life can entail that not only for Ukrainians, but also for Russians and for young Russians.”
As for the sanctions, Johnson said the aim was to “affect not only Vladimir Putin’s employees, but all companies and organizations of strategic importance to Russia.”
“We are going to stop Russian companies from raising money in the British markets and we are going to stop, even with our American friends, they are going to stop trading pounds and dollars, which will be very difficult,” he said.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday, Johnson said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “seriously miscalculating” in preparing to invade Ukraine, adding that Moscow “would have absolutely nothing to gain from this catastrophic undertaking and to lose everything.”
Johnson urged Moscow to de-escalate tensions before it’s too late.
I fear that a lightning war will be followed by a long and horrific period of reprisals, revenge and insurrection, and that Russian parents will mourn the loss of young Russian soldiers, who in their own way are just as innocent as the Ukrainians who are now preparing on attack,” he said.
Johnson said, “We don’t quite know what President Putin is up to,” adding that “the omens are grim and so we must stand strong together.”
Johnson’s comments come a day after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russia was “in the right position to launch an attack”.
“They are unfurling and are now ready to strike,” Austin said Saturday from Vilnius, Lithuania.
“If you look at the attitude he is in today, it’s clear” [Putin] has made a decision and they are moving to the correct positions to launch an attack.”
Echoing US President Joe Biden’s claim that Putin had made a decision to invade, Austin added that the US would pursue a diplomatic solution “until the very last minute, until it is not possible”.
However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has refuted Western leaders’ heightened claims that a Russian invasion is imminent.
When asked about the aggressive use of US intelligence to stop Putin from invading Ukraine, Zelensky said he was “grateful for the work both of our intelligence agencies have done. But the intelligence I trust is my intelligence agency.
“I trust the Ukrainian intelligence agency who… understands what is happening at our borders, who has different intelligence sources and understands different risks based on intercepted data… this information must be used,” Zelensky told DailyExpertNews’s Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour in a one-on-one interview at the security conference on Saturday.
He continued: “We don’t really live in delusions. We understand what could happen tomorrow…putting ourselves in coffins and waiting for foreign soldiers to come in is not something we want to do.”
Zelensky then called on international partners to support Ukraine by investing in the country. “Strengthen our weapons… our economy. Invest in our country. Bring in your business.
“We are not panicking, we want to live our lives,” he added.
Ross Levitt, Karen Smith, Maegan Vazquez, Kevin Liptak, Betsy Klein, Sam Fossum, Emmet Lyons, and Lauren Said-Moorhouse of DailyExpertNews contributed to this post.
This post has been updated.