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Britain is ready to deploy troops to protect NATO allies in Europe if Russia invades Ukraine, Boris Johnson said, as he warned Vladimir Putin to face “fierce” Ukrainian resistance.

The Prime Minister also said the UK and its allies were prepared to impose ‘heavy economic sanctions’ on Russia and expressed fears that any invasion would lead to ‘a bloodbath comparable to the first war in Chechnya or in Bosnia”.

Johnson told the House of Commons: “If Russia goes this route, many sons of Russian mothers will not come home. The response from the international community would be the same and the pain that would be inflicted on the Russian economy would be the same.

He appealed for diplomacy to resolve tensions and avoid a war that would “deserve and merit the condemnation of history”.

union leader Keir Starmer said his party “is committed” to supporting Ukrainian independence and sovereignty.

Previously Minister of Foreign Affairs Liz Truss did not rule out sending British combat troops to help defend Ukraine – but told MPs such a scenario was “unlikely”.

Johnsonmaking a statement in the Commons, went on to say: ‘The British Army leads the NATO Battlegroup in Estonia and if Russia invades Ukraine we will seek to contribute to any further NATO deployment to protect our allies in Europe.”

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