Following talks in Moscow, the Defence Secretary said Russian assurances they were not planning an attack would be judged ‘by the evidence’.
11 February 2022
Russia could mount an invasion of Ukraine “at any time”, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said as he warned that conflict would have “tragic consequences” for both countries.
Following talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, Mr Wallace said he had received an assurance the Kremlin was not planning to attack its southern neighbour.
But with 130,000 Russian troops massed along the borders and large-scale military exercises taking place in Belarus, he said they would judge such assurances by Moscow’s actions.
“Currently there’s over 130,000 troops stationed at readiness or exercising – plus warplanes, plus ships into the Black Sea – on the borders of Ukraine and that is an action that is not normal,” Mr Wallace told a news conference in the British embassy.
“It is beyond normal exercising therefore we will judge that statement on the evidence.”
His news conference took place as Boris Johnson joined other Western leaders on a conference call organised by US President Joe Biden to discuss the situation in the region.
Also taking part were French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, as well as EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.