Statement by the Prime Minister at the Ukrainian press conference: February 1, 2022
Thank you very much President Zelenskyy and thank you for welcoming us all to your Mariyinsky Palace here, it is absolutely fantastic to be back in Kyiv and to see the excitement, the buzz of this capital which has changed so much since I have been here for five years ago, many interesting and positive ways.
But we have to face a sad reality which is that while we are here today, Volodmyr, more than 100,000 Russian troops are gathering at your border in perhaps the greatest display of hostility towards Ukraine. in our lifetime.
And the potential deployment dwarfs the 30,000 troops Russia sent to invade Crimea in 2014. Since then, of course, as everyone knows, over 13,000 Ukrainians have been killed and Ukraine has been plunged into almost a decade of war.
It goes without saying that a new Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a political disaster, a humanitarian disaster, it would also be, in my opinion, for Russia, for the world, a military disaster as well. And the potential invasion runs completely counter to President Putin’s claim to act in the interests of the Ukrainian people.
The UK and other countries will be judged, by the people of Ukraine and the world, on how we respond and how we help.
Since 2015, the UK has trained more than 22,000 Ukrainian military personnel and supplied £2.2 million worth of non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine.
Two weeks ago, we sent anti-tank weapons to further strengthen Ukraine’s defenses.
Today I announced additional UK funding of £88 million to support good governance and energy independence in Ukraine. This will strengthen your efforts Volodmyr and those of others to build a free and prosperous Ukrainian society free from malevolent influences.
Along with other countries, we are also preparing a set of sanctions and other measures that will be enacted as soon as the first Russian tip crosses further into Ukrainian territory.
And we did all this and prepared all this, not as a show of hostility towards Russia, but as a demonstration that we will always defend Ukrainian freedom, democracy and sovereignty in the face of aggression.
In recent days I have spoken to the leaders of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, the Secretary General of NATO and others – all agree on the importance fundamental to supporting Ukraine’s self-determination.
Because the people of Ukraine have the inalienable right to choose how they are governed and, indeed, which organizations they aspire to join.
And as a friend and partner, the UK will always uphold that right.
It is vital that Russia backs down and chooses the path of diplomacy and I believe it is still possible.
We are keen on dialogue, of course we are, we have the sanctions ready, we are providing military support and we will also intensify our economic cooperation.
Because we are a firm and enduring ally of Ukraine and a supporter of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Thank you very much to all.