Prime Minister admitted ‘fatigue’ is setting in over four-month-old invasion
Image: via Reuters)
Boris Johnson has sent a grim warning to Western leaders not to agree to a ‘bad peace’ in Ukraine – saying it would be a ‘disaster’.
Speaking ahead of the G7 and NATO summits, the prime minister admitted ‘fatigue’ is now setting in over the four-month-old invasion.
But he said backing down now would ‘unleash’ further brutality from Vladimir Putin ‘when he wants.
Mr Johnson also refused to rule out the possibility of putting British troops at risk to get grain out of the Russian-blocked Black Sea port of Odessa.
“There’s a very strong moral justification for trying to get Odessa grain,” he said. “It’s 23 million tonnes. Basically, it’s going. »
It came as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss today accused Russia of ‘weaponizing hunger’ and using food security as a ‘ruthless tool of war’ with its blockade of Ukrainian grain.
Boris Johnson added: “We have to do everything we can to get him out.
“Under the Montreux Convention we cannot, no navy can enter the Black Sea, the Turks will not allow that to happen. But we certainly have to find a way to get the grain out that is not under Putin’s control.
“It takes a lot of care and thought and we are working with the Turks and other European partners to see what we can do.
“But we are far from trying to send the navy across the Bosphorus and into the Black Sea.”
Ukraine has been described as the “breadbasket of Europe” and was one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, maize and sunflower oil.
But the Russian invasion and Moscow’s sea mining to prevent access to southern ports, including Odessa, have halted much of the flow and jeopardized the world’s food supply.
Speaking at a press conference alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, Ms Truss warned of “devastating consequences” unless “urgent action is taken within the next month before the new crop”.
Accusing Vladimir Putin of “weaponizing hunger” with the blockade, she added: “He uses food security as a ruthless tool of war.
“He blocked Ukrainian ports and prevented the export of 20 million tonnes of grain across the world, holding the world to ransom.”
Ms Truss said the ships needed “safe passage to leave Ukrainian ports”, with docks “protected from Russian attacks”.
NATO leaders are expected to discuss how grain exports can leave the war-torn country when they meet for a critical summit in Madrid next week.
The Prime Minister has said the war will ‘kinda come up’ at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in Rwanda, which he will help open with Prince Charles today. UN, including India, Pakistan, South Africa and Bangladesh.
The Prime Minister is expected to receive a warmer welcome when he travels to the G7 summit in Germany on Saturday evening and the NATO summit in Madrid next week.
But he admitted: “There is no doubt that there is a lot of Ukrainian fatigue now in the world.
“So my message to colleagues in the G7 and NATO in particular is going to be that now is not the time to settle and encourage the Ukrainians to settle for a bad peace, a peace for which they are asked to give up pieces of their territory in exchange for a ceasefire.
“I think it would be a disaster. It would be a trigger for further escalation by Putin whenever he wants.
“It would cause a lot more economic damage to the world.”