Weaker than we should be Lord Frost in stunning admission as he outlines battle plan

Boris Johnson addresses nation on Russia's invasion of Ukraine

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The former Brexit minister tweeted that Prime Minister Boris Johnson got it right in his address on the conflict, adding: “This is appalling Russian aggression and we must meet it with robust and meaningful sanctions. There is no doubt the West has made mistakes in recent years. We are much weaker than we should be.”

He added there are many things the West must do to remedy its weaknesses and to get serious about foreign affairs again.

Lord Frost continued: “[B]ut the moment to deal with that is when the immediate crisis is over. For now, the right thing is to: discount advice from those whose naive world views got us into this position in the first place; get fully behind our Government & our allies in managing the appalling risks of the current situation in a sober way.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Britain “cannot and will not just look away” from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The PM pledged to unite with allies to respond with a massive package of sanctions designed to “hobble the Russian economy”.

In a televised statement at midday on Thursday, Mr Johnson said the world cannot stand by and allow the freedom of Ukraine to be “snuffed out”. He added that dependence on the Russian oil and gas which had for too long given Mr Putin his grip on Western politics.

Mr Johnson said: “This hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.”

Russia hit its neighbour with a wide-ranging attack, targeting cities and bases with air strikes or shelling.

An adviser to the presidential office in Ukraine said the country’s troops have clashed with Russian forces along practically the entire border with fierce fighting taking place in the regions of Sumy, Kharkiv, Kherson, Odessa and at a military airport near Kiev.

Former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC: “There has been a long term failure of Western diplomacy. If you go back to the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 we huffed and puffed and then a few years later both the UK and US said they wanted a reset in relations with Moscow and Moscow was able to get away with it. Likewise with the incursions into Georgia, the invasion of Crimea in 2008 and 2014.

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“What we need to do now is to completely change our approach, recognise that there is now the biggest threat to the democratic order we’ve seen since the Second World War.”

He called for a rethink over plans to cut the size of the British Army by 10,000 but added that sending troops to Ukraine would be very risky as it would pit two nuclear armed powers against each other.

Ukrainian police on Thursday said Russia had carried out 203 attacks with fighting going on almost throughout Ukraine’s territory.

RIA news agency reported Russia’s defence ministry as saying it had destroyed 74 above-ground military infrastructure facilities in Ukraine, including 11 aerodromes.

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Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described Russia’s actions as a deliberate, cold-blooded and long-planned invasion.

He said: “Peace on our continent has been shattered. Russia is using force to try to rewrite history and deny Ukraine its free and independent path. We have no plans to send Nato troops [into] Ukraine. What we do is defensive.”

The military alliance has agreed to strengthen its eastern flank while European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen accused Mr Putin of “bringing war back to Europe”.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law in the early hours of Thursday and urged people to stay indoors as he called on Ukrainian nationals to volunteer for the resistance effort.

He said: “We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.

“We have severed diplomatic relations with Russia. For all those who have not yet lost their conscience in Russia, it is time to go out and protest against the war with Ukraine.”

The Kremlin claims it is only targeting Ukrainian air bases and other military assets, not populated areas. Kiev said at least 40 people have died so far.

The Prime Minister said every Briton’s thoughts are with the Ukrainian people during this dark time and raised hopes they can resist the Russian offensive.

Mr Johnson is scheduled to address MPs in the House of Commons on Thursday evening.

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