Russia: US condemns ‘reckless’ missile test

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With an estimated 100,000 Russian troops now massing on the border, Tom Tugendhat, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, warned that tensions in Eastern Europe are a test for the UK. In a warning to Boris Johnson, the MP Tonbridge and Malling, also claimed the “road to Global Britain runs through Eastern Europe”. With tensions rising on the Ukrainian border and the rising migrant crisis in Eastern Europe, Mr Tugendhat called on the UK to do more to stop Russia.

Writing for The Daily Telegraph, he said: “This isn’t just about Ukraine. Rising tensions across Eastern Europe are a test for Britain too.

“There is a question as to whether we are willing to defend new democracies and our Nato allies, or is Global Britain more interested in distant trade deals than freedom in our own backyard?”

He added: “When Belarus tries to sow the seeds of a migrant crisis in Europe, or if Putin masses troops at the Ukrainian border, it threatens the partnerships that Britain’s power is built on.

“In today’s world, the road to Global Britain runs through Eastern Europe.”

In a further attack against the Russian government, the Tory MP claimed the state aims to “sow discord in the West”.

He added: “The thousands of migrants gathered at points along the border between Poland and Belarus are being used to undermine the liberties that matter to us all.

“The few who manage to squeeze past the border are heading to Western Europe, and their journey is dangerous, not least because of the freezing winter temperatures.

“This is not a one-off event, but the latest in a pattern of behaviour spearheaded by the Russian government.

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“Putin’s playbook when under pressure is to sow discord in the West and capitalise on the chaos to distract his domestic audience.

“While incidents in Eastern Europe may be a thousand miles away, their impact ought to echo louder at home.

“The events in Ukraine and Belarus are about something deeper than borders, they are about our national security.”

Ukrainian officials have warned 100,000 Russian troops have massed on the border, particularly in the Donbas region.

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Such is the build-up of troops, US intelligence officials warned their EU counterparts of an imminent invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces.

Russia also annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and is expected to deploy a new paratroop regiment in the territory.

Russia and Belarus have also been accused of attempting to destabilise the EU by moving migrants towards the border with Poland.

Belarus has also threatened to cut gas supplies to Ukraine.

Andriy Zagorodnyuk, Ukraine’s defence minister from 2019 to 2020 said: “Russia is clearly using Belarus to achieve its strategic goals, one of which is to destroy the security environment in Europe.

“Russia has been doing this in various ways for a long time, and this is one of their methods.

“The use of Belarus as a battering ram.”

The EU has agreed on sanctions against Belarus for anyone involved with the transportation of migrants to the border.

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