The government in Moscow has threatened, attack military targets in the UK and British diplomats in Kyiv. Previously, the Secretary of State in the British Ministry of Defence, James Heappey, Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory declared “completely legitimate” if carried out with British arms, this is "not necessarily a problem".
In a war, Ukrainians would have to strike in the enemy's country, “to attack its logistics chains, its fuel supply, his ammunition", he said. Wouldn't Russian logistics be disrupted before the borders, would directly contribute to more death and devastation in Ukraine. According to the government in Moscow, Ukrainian forces have bombed targets in Russia, including an oil store. This was not confirmed by Kyiv.
The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Sakharova, then turned Heappey's words around: "We understand correctly, that Russia, to disrupt logistics chains, attack military targets on the territory of those NATO countries, supplying arms to the regime in Kyiv - after all, this leads directly to death and bloodshed on Ukrainian soil?' she added: "As far as I understand, Britain is one of those countries.”
Western presence does not prevent Moscow from attacking
Russia's Defense Ministry also warned Britain against a 'reasonable response', should the British continue to "provoke" Ukraine into military strikes in Russia and such strikes be carried out. "We warned, that the Russian armed forces are on 24-hour stand-by, to carry out retaliatory strikes with long-range, high-precision weapons on decision-making centers in Kyiv”, said in a statement. "The presence of Western advisers in the Ukrainian decision-making centers does not necessarily pose a problem for Russia."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week, to send diplomats to the British Embassy in Kyiv again. When the war broke out, they had left the capital. “Depending on the security situation”, the agency may be reopened this week. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Monday, to also reopen the American Embassy in the coming weeks.
Secretary of State Heappey's comments reflect the government's policy position. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview on Tuesday, that Great Britain does not want the conflict to escalate beyond the Ukrainian border, but recognized the Ukrainians' right to defense and drew attention to it, that the Ukrainians would be "attacked from Russian territory"..
At the same time, he contradicted warnings, that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use nuclear weapons. Even further military defeats would not drive Putin to use tactical nuclear weapons, said Johnson. Rather, the Kremlin ruler has enough domestic political support and room for manoeuvre, to end the war. According to the chairman of the defense committee in the British House of Commons, there Conservative Tobias Ellwood, Heappey's words, on the other hand, have “the potential, invite to retaliatory attacks on Poland”. He warned, that Russia could attack western targets outside of Ukraine, and said, that the West is “increasingly embroiled in a proxy war”.
MEPs want four percent for defense
There is no consensus in the government on the issue, whether NATO should deliver warplanes to Ukraine. When asked about a recommendation by Secretary of State Liz Truss, the Deputy Prime Minister gave way (and Minister of Justice) Dominic Raab answered the question several times on Wednesday. In a keynote address on security policy, which was previously published, Truss wants to call the West on Wednesday night, prepare for a long-term conflict and increase support for Ukraine.
According to the manuscript, Truss will say, that Ukraine's fate is not decided and the West must not be complacent. “If Putin succeeds here, there will be untold further misery and terrible consequences across Europe and the world.", it says in the text. “We would never feel safe again”. Truss wants to look not only for increased supplies of weapons, pronounce tanks and planes, but for a “new approach” in western security policy – “a, who acknowledges, that we are seeing the return of geopolitics.” The old architecture, which should guarantee peace and prosperity, was “failed in Ukraine”.
According to Truss, NATO's two-percent target in the future should “not be used as a ceiling, but as soil”.. Some British MPs have already called for it, to invest four percent in defense instead of two percent of the gross domestic product.