British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday warned that Russia is planning the largest conflict in Europe since the end of the Second World War in 1945.
Johnson made the warning during his visit to Germany for the Munich Security Conference where he met other western leaders as well as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“All the signs are that the plan has already in some senses begun. People need to understand the sheer cost in human life that could entail,” Johnson said in an interview with the BBC News.
“I’m afraid to say that the plan we are seeing is for something that could be really the biggest war in Europe since 1945 just in terms of sheer scale,” the prime minister added.
Johnson also warned that Russian troops will enter Ukraine from its northern border with Belarus, where its forces have been carrying out military exercises, allowing it a swift takeover of the capital Kyiv as well as entering the country through the Donbas region in the east.
According to the prime minister, intelligence provided by US President Joe Biden showed that Moscow is planning of launching a lightening invasion that aims to encircle Kyiv in a matter of days.
Foreign Minister Liz Truss also warned that Russia will not stop at Ukraine and that Moscow has set its eyes on the former Soviet Republics including the Baltic States as well as the Balkan region.
“He's been very clear – his ambition doesn't just lead to him taking control of Ukraine, he wants to turn the clock back to the mid 1990s or even before then. The Baltic States are at risk, the Western Balkans as well,” Truss said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.
“Putin has said all this publicly, that he wants to create the Greater Russia, that he wants to go back to the situation as it was before where Russia had control over huge swathes of Eastern Europe,” the foreign minister added.
Tensions have risen dramatically in eastern Ukraine this week, with a growing number of cease-fire violations, multiple shelling incidents, and evacuation of civilians from the pro-Russian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Western countries have accused Russia of amassing more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that it could be planning a military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.
Moscow has repeatedly denied any plan to invade Ukraine and instead accused Western countries of undermining Russia’s security through NATO’s expansion toward its borders.