Russia invading Ukraine would lead to the largest conflict in Europe since the Second World War, the Prime Minister has warned.
Boris Johnson said he wanted people to “understand the sheer cost in human life” that an incursion into Ukraine would bring, with casualties on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides, as he continued to urged Moscow to engage in peace talks.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, meanwhile, used a separate interview to state that President Vladimir Putin “will not stop at Ukraine” as she argued he is looking to piece the Soviet Union back together.
The comments came as Ukraine’s military said two soldiers died on Saturday as violence escalated in the east of the country between government forces and rebels.
There are growing fears Russia could use the increase in tension in the separatist-held region as a pretext for an attack.
The Prime Minister spent Saturday engaged in diplomatic efforts to avoid war as he warned the Kremlin during a speech at the Munich Security Conference of increased financial sanctions should Mr Putin order troops across the border.
He also told broadcasters that he believed Mr Putin’s invasion plan was “in motion” with the aggression in the Donbas region potentially a “prelude to bigger action”.
In other comments made while in Germany, Mr Johnson warned that the “sheer scale” of the offensive being prepared by Moscow had not been seen for almost 80 years.
He told BBC News: “The plan that we’re seeing is for something that could be the biggest war in Europe since 1945 just in terms of sheer scale.
“You’re looking at not just an invasion through the east through the Donbas, but according to the intelligence we are seeing, coming down from the north, down from Belarus and actually encircling Kyiv itself, as Joe Biden explained to a lot of us last night
“I think a lot of people need to understand the sheer cost in human life that that could entail, not just for Ukrainians but for Russians.”
Ms Truss, speaking to the Mail On Sunday, said the West needed to “stop” Moscow in its tracks or else otherwise Mr Putin would look to “turn the clock back to the mid-1990s or even before then” by possibly annexing the Baltic States – such as Estonia and Latvia – and the Western Balkans, which includes Serbia and Albania.
Mr Johnson held talks with a number of European leaders while in Bavaria, including meeting Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
During his speech to the annual summit, Mr Zelenskyy was critical of what he called “appeasement” by the West in the face of Russian aggression.
“We have the right to demand to move from the appeasement policy to ensuring the guarantees of security,” he said, in a translation offered by the conference.
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