(File photo) UK PM Boris Johnson Photograph:( AFP )
UK PM Boris Johnson has described Russian attack on Ukraine as a "catastrophe" for Europe. He has also called for urgent meeting of NATO leaders
In the wake of UK government warning of "unprecedented" new sanctions on Russia, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to make a televised statement on Ukraine Crisis, Downing Street said on Thursday.
Johnson summoned his security chiefs for an early morning meeting as Russia invaded Ukraine. The invasion was termed "unprovoked" and "horrific. Johnson will address the parliament in the afternoon.
"This is a catastrophe for our continent," the UK leader said on Twitter, confirming he would speak to fellow G7 leaders at an unspecified time as the West collectively readies tougher sanctions.
"I am calling for an urgent meeting of all NATO leaders as soon as possible," he added, hours after saying Russian President Vladimir Putin had "chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack".
This is a catastrophe for our continent.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 24, 2022
I will make an address to the nation this morning on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
I will also speak to fellow G7 leaders and I am calling for an urgent meeting of all NATO leaders as soon as possible.
Johnson spoke to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky overnight and vowed "the West would not stand by as President Putin waged his campaign against the Ukrainian people", Downing Street said.
He chaired the emergency meeting -- dubbed COBR -- to coordinate Britain's response at 7:30 am (0730 GMT). As well as addressing the nation late morning, he will speak in parliament at 5:00 pm (1700 GMT).
Putin early Thursday launched an air and ground assault on Ukraine after a surprise televised address.
'Stand with Ukraine'
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who spoke to her US counterpart Antony Blinken Wednesday evening ahead of the Russian leader's announcement, joined Johnson in condemning the attack "on the people of Ukraine".
"We stand with Ukraine and we will work with our international partners to respond to this terrible act of aggression," she said following the start of Russia's offensive.
Her foreign ministry colleague, lawmaker James Cleverly, told the BBC that the government feared it is "the start of a quite extensive military operation".
(With inputs from agencies)