Ukrainians fighting heroically, says Boris Johnson
LONDON – Boris Johnson says Ukrainians are “fighting heroically” and with “great success” in some places.
Following a call with the Ukrainian president, the prime minister said things “are not going all the way of President Vladimir Putin”.
But he said more had to be done to “change the heavy odds that Ukraine faces” from the Russian invasion.
Tougher sanctions, including a move to shut Russia out of the global payments system Swift, were needed, he said.
Shortly after Mr Johnson’s comments on late Saturday night the European Commission alongside the US, Canada and UK announced that selected Russian banks would be removed from the Swift messaging system.
On Sunday morning, local officials reported Russian troops had entered Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv, where they are battling Ukrainian forces in the streets. Residents have been urged to stay indoors.
The advance came after missiles rained down across the city overnight. A nearby natural gas pipeline and an oil terminal outside Kyiv have also been hit by the Russians.
A strict curfew is in place in capital Kyiv until today (Monday), only police, military and volunteers are currently on the streets.
So far, the fighting across Ukraine has resulted in at least 240 civilian casualties, including 64 deaths, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Ireland and Finland are the most recent countries to announce they are closing their airspace to Russian planes. Ireland’s foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney urged other EU partners to do the same, and called for “new wide-ranging sanctions to be agreed” on Sunday.
Speaking during a visit to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire on Saturday, Boris Johnson said the UK was sending humanitarian, military and financial supplies to Ukraine.
He added that 1,000 troops were being sent to the region to help with the influx of refugees and he said the government would “of course help people fleeing for their lives”.
“Things are not going all the way of President Putin. Very far from it, the Ukrainians are fighting heroically, and in some places with great success,” Mr Johnson said.
Mr Johnson said some “terrible atrocities” were being committed and there would be some “very grim days ahead for Ukraine”.
He added Europe had to face the “hideous reality” that previous attempts at diplomacy with Mr Putin were “a charade”.