God Save the Queen frenzy in Ukraine AGAIN as Boris prepares for barnstorming trip TODAY

War with Russia over Ukraine is '80% likely' says expert

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“God Save the Queen” began to pop up on Ukrainian social media as a reference to British support in January as around 100,000 Russian troops massed on the country’s border. It followed the UK’s decision to send across 2,000 anti-tank weapons and troops to Ukraine, helping the country gear up for a defensive effort if Russia did invade.

Messages in a similar spirit popped up across social media lauding the UK’s support of Ukraine.

Ben Wallace, UK Defence Secretary, told MPs last month that the UK was committed to helping Ukraine safeguard its sovereignty.

He said: “I have to be honest here, Russia has the biggest armed forces in Europe.

“Ukraine is not a member of NATO and I think it would be false hope to say that the British armed forces would be going unilaterally to Ukraine to join forces alongside Ukrainians in that environment, which is why we are putting all the effort in helping Ukraine help themselves, sanctions packages and diplomatic efforts.”

He added: “We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light, anti-armour, defensive weapon systems.

“A small number of UK personnel will also provide early-stage training for a short period of time, within the framework of Operation Orbital, before then returning to the UK.”

Operation Orbital refers to the continuing presence of British soldiers in Ukraine for training purposes, dating back to the 2014 Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

Mr Wallace added the weapons provided to Ukraine are not strategic, but are for “self-defence, and the UK personnel providing the early-stage training will return to the UK after completing it.”

The UK’s action to support Ukrainian defence forces was delightedly received in Ukraine, with activists congregating outside the British embassy in Kyiv last month to express their support for the move.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will arrive in the Ukrainian capital city today to meet with president Volodymyr Zelensky in a renewed show of support for the Eastern European country.

Mr Johnson was scheduled to speak to Russian president Vladimir Putin yesterday, but the developments around ‘partygate’ on Monday saw the Prime Minister unable to speak with Mr Putin.

The Russian leader then spoke to French president Emmanuel Macron, with no indication of when the conversation with Mr Johnson would take place.

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The Prime Minister’s visit will match up with the announcement of £88 million destined for Ukraine to prop up stability in the country.

Mr Johnson said: “It is the right of every Ukrainian to determine how they are governed.

“As a friend and a democratic partner, the UK will continue to uphold Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of those who seek to destroy it.

“We urge Russia to step back and engage in dialogue to find a diplomatic resolution and avoid further bloodshed.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was supposed to fly to Kyiv alongside Mr Johnson before announcing on Twitter on Monday that she had tested positive for coronavirus.

She had announced on Monday in the Commons that the UK would be stepping up sanctions against Russia in the event of incursions into Ukrainian territory.

She told MPs the new legislation will go “further than ever before” against Mr Putin, constituting the “toughest sanction regime against Russia we have ever had”.

She added: “Until now the UK has only been able to sanction those linked to de-stabilisation of the Ukraine.

“This new legislation will give us the power to sanction a broader range of individuals and businesses.”

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