Invading Ukraine would plunge Russia into a “violent and bloody” conflict, which would be equivalent to creating “a new Chechnya”, a former Soviet republic in the Caucasus that has been the scene of interventions by the Russian army, the British prime minister warned on Monday. Boris Johnson.
“We have to get the message across that invading Ukraine, from the Russian point of view, will be painful, violent and bloody, and I think it’s very important that people in Russia understand that this could be a new Chechnya,” the Conservative leader said. on British television.
“I know those people a little bit and I think they are going to fight,” Boris Johnson added.
Chechnya, Republic of the Russian Caucasus, experienced two bloody conflicts in the 1990s and 2000s who opposed pro-independence groups, and later Islamists, to the Russian army.
These conflicts left tens of thousands dead and the second chechen war, from 1999 to 2009, was marked by indiscriminate bombing of its capital, Grozny.
The UK, which recently sold missiles to Ukrainian authorities, accuses Russia of “trying to install a pro-Russian leader in Kiev”, charges Moscow dismissed as “absurd”.
On Monday morning, London announced the repatriation of part of its diplomatic staff in Ukraine in the face of the “growing threat” from Russia.
“The intelligence information is very clear, there are groups of Russian fighters on the borders of Ukraine and the whole world can see that there is a blitzkrieg project that could lead to the capture of Kiev,” Johnson said.
“We have to make it clear to the Kremlin and to Russia that this would be a disaster,” he stressed.
However, the British leader considered that a Russian invasion is “not at all inevitable”. “I think common sense can prevail,” he said.