Ukraine: We need to avoid 'bloody war' says James Heappey
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As Russian troop’s gather on Ukraine’s border, Labour is increasingly calling on the Prime Minister to step up his game. The opposition party believe him to be incapable of providing the strong leadership that this delicate situation requires.
An estimated 100,000 Russian troops have amassed on the Russian border with Ukraine, this has fuelled fears that the Kremlin will invade the former Soviet Union state.
The US and Russia have met to discuss the crisis but Russia is showing no signs of backing down.
Now Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, John Healey, is calling for stronger leadership so that “the most serious security crisis since the Cold War” can be dealt with properly.
After a visit to Kyiv, Mr Healey told Politico it was an “embarrassment” that “with Europe facing the most serious security crisis since the Cold War, Britain has a non-functioning Prime Minister.”
He said Mr Johnson was more concerned with quelling the party gate scandal than addressing the dire situation in Ukraine, accusing Mr Johnson of “ducking and diving to try to deal with the mess that he’s created around Downing Street parties”.
The Wentworth and Dearne MP added the PM was “incapable of playing the statesman role and offering the British leadership that’s required.”
The shadow cabinet member also said that Labour would seek to work with the Government over Ukraine in a bid to put pressure on the Kremlin to step down and to show to them that “there will be massive consequences for Putin if he does invade Ukraine again.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have both taken a hard line against the Russian threat.
Ms Truss speaking at the Lowy Institute in Sydney said: “If there is an incursion by Russia into Ukraine, it would come at a massive cost. We are prepared to put very severe sanctions in place, we are also working to support Ukraine in terms of defensive capability.”
Mr Wallace has approved the sending of 2,000 anti-tank missile launchers to help Ukraine and hasn’t ruled out sending more defensive weapons if needed.
He told the Mail: “I will keep the question of sending more defensive weapons to Ukraine under close review. I do not rule anything out within helping Ukraine deliver self-defence.”
Mr Healey has praised the work of Mr Wallace and Ms Truss saying that they were both doing their jobs in contrast to their leader, Boris Johnson.
David Lammy, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, shares Mr Healey’s view that Europe must stand firm against Ukraine.
Responding to the latest developments in Ukraine including the recent cyber attack, he said: “Amid cyberattacks and heightened border threats, Ukraine needs our support more than ever. NATO and Europe must stand firm and united. Threats of this kind must be met with strength and resolve.”
Labour has backed the military assistance announced by Mr Wallace this week.
A Downing Street spokesperson has defended the PM’s actions over Ukraine, they said: “The prime minister has been deeply engaged on this issue throughout, and was one of the first world leaders to raise concerns about Russian hostilities in a speech at Mansion House in November, along with Nord Stream 2.”
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