Boris Johnson issues warning to Russia about invading Ukraine

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It comes days after President Joe Biden appeared to imply the US could tolerate “limited incursions” into Ukraine in another high-profile gaffe. Biden’s comments were condemned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

However, Vice President Harris insisted there would be “severe consequences” for Vladimir Putin if he decided to invade Ukraine when speaking to reporters.

She said: “The bottom line is that we have been clear and consistent for some time that we respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

“We expect that Russia would do the same and any aggressive action taken by Vladimir Putin will be met with severe consequences.

“The ball is in his court.

“I can’t tell you what he is going to do but we are prepared to take decisive actions if he moves in an aggressive manner in Ukraine.”

Vice President Harris also insisted that the Biden administration was in constant communication with key US allies.

She said: “I am being briefed on a constant basis by my national security team.

“As you know the President, I and other members of our administration have been in active discussion with our allies and partners across the globe, in particular in Europe.” 

This comes as the UK announced that it was withdrawing some embassy staff and their family members from Ukraine due to the “growing threat” from Russia.

However, the withdrawn staff are non-essential personnel and the embassy remains fully operational with Germany and Australia making similar moves.

The US has told the family members of embassy staff to leave Ukraine although it does not constitute an evacuation and the embassy will remain operational.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney has condemned Russian naval exercises in international waters close to the Irish coast saying they are “not welcome”. 

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Around 8,500 US troops have been put on heightened alert for possible deployment to Ukraine to boost NATO forces.

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