The head of London’s diplomacy pointed out on Sunday that the situation in Ukraine could escalate into a conflict between the Atlantic Alliance and Russia if Moscow is not stopped.
Russia launched last February 24 a military operation in Ukraine, after the authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics asked for help to repel Kiev’s aggression.
Earlier, Moscow recognized the independence and sovereignty of both territories and signed treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with their leaders, which included the establishment of diplomatic relations and military aid.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a televised speech to inform about the start of the operation, stated that the aim is to protect the population of Donbass from abuses and genocide by Kiev over the past eight years and to “demilitarize” Ukraine.
He urged the Ukrainian military to lay down their arms and warned the international community about the possibility of an immediate response in case of attempts of external intervention in the conflict.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the attacks are aimed at military infrastructure, air defense facilities, airfields and military aviation. It stressed that the civilian population of Ukraine is not threatened.
In response, the Ukrainian government broke off diplomatic relations with Moscow, decreed martial law in the country, demanded financial and humanitarian aid from the international community, while demanding sanctions and “isolating Russia by all means and formats”.
For their part, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and the countries of the European Union imposed new sanctions on Russia, targeting the highest representatives of the State and the Government and key sectors of trade, finance, energy and exports.
Putin stated that Russia does not plan to occupy Ukrainian territories, but to defend the right of the Ukrainian peoples to self-determination.
He also reiterated that Moscow cannot allow Kiev to acquire nuclear weapons and further militarize itself, which is a danger to the country’s security.
He stressed that NATO’s continued eastward expansion is unacceptable to Russia.