Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to invade Ukraine “has already begun,” a British government spokesman said on Monday.
The remarks by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman came hours after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine “looks highly likely.”
Following a meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, Truss said NATO allies were “stepping up preparations for the worst-case scenario.”
The 10 Downing Street spokesman said on Truss’ comments that it was “our assessment.”
“The intelligence we’re seeing suggests Russia intends to launch an invasion and that President Putin’s plan has already begun, in effect,” he said.
“We’re seeing elements of the Russian playbook that we would expect to see in those certain situations start to play out in real time.”
Reiterating that the UK was working with NATO allies, he said intelligence reports suggest that Russia still intends to launch an invasion and “we stand ready to act as needed.”
“But, crucially, we still think there is a window for diplomacy, as we’ve seen with discussions over the weekend, and we want to explore those.”