The United Kingdom will propose a major NATO deployment amid the crisis in Ukraine NATO news

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the move would send a “clear message” to Vladimir Putin as Russian troops mass on the border with Ukraine.

The United Kingdom is considering a large-scale deployment of NATO in a plan to strengthen Europe’s borders amid growing “Russian hostility” to Ukraine after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops to the country’s border.

The United Kingdom has said that any Russian invasion of Ukraine will be met with swift sanctions and will be devastating for both sides.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to visit the region next week and is expected to speak by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This package will send a clear message to the Kremlin – we will not tolerate their destabilizing activities and will always stand with our NATO allies in the face of Russian hostility,” Johnson said in a statement late Saturday.

The offer could double the number of British troops in Eastern Europe and see “defensive weapons” sent to Estonia, Johnson’s office said. There are currently around 1,150 British troops in the region.

“I have ordered our armed forces to prepare for deployment across Europe next week, ensuring that we are able to support our NATO allies,” Johnson said.

Close-up of the British NATO badge badge for a reinforced front-line battle group based in Estonia on top of a military uniformBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the new offer could double the number of British troops stationed in Eastern Europe [File: Ints Kalnins/Reuters]

Officials will finalize details of the offer at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, this week, with ministers discussing military options on Monday. The next day, the head of the armed forces will inform the British cabinet about the situation in Ukraine.

With the build-up of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, tensions have risen and relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Russia has also sent more troops to the border with Belarus, north of Ukraine, as it has stepped up calls for comprehensive security guarantees, including never allowing Ukraine to join NATO.

Amid criticism that his government – under strong pressure at home over a series of scandals – has not done enough, Johnson will make a second trip to meet with NATO counterparts early next month, his office said.

Johnson’s foreign and defense ministers will also go to Moscow for talks with Russian counterparts in the coming days to improve relations and de-escalate tensions.

The United Kingdom is also expected to announce the tightening of sanctions against Russia in parliament on Monday to focus on strategic and financial interests.

Ukraine is turning more and more to the west after Moscow took over Crimea in 2014 and began fueling a separatist conflict in the east of the country, which killed more than 13,000 people.

On Saturday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky called on Western countries to remain “vigilant and firm” in talks with Moscow.

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