Ukraine refugees will be welcomed, Britain's Boris Johnson promises

UK is sending humanitarian, military and financial supplies to Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets military personnel at Royal Air Force Brize Norton station to thank them for their support to Ukraine and Nato. Reuters

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The West is “tightening the economic ligature” around President Vladimir Putin's Russia, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

He praised the heroism of Ukraine’s military and said Ukrainian refugees would be welcomed into Britain.

Speaking from Royal Air Force Brize Norton, Mr Johnson said the UK was sending humanitarian, military and financial supplies to Ukraine as well as 1,000 troops to help with the influx of refugees.

In a co-ordinated move Britain, the US, Canada and EU announced selected Russian banks would be excluded from the Swift global payments system.

Mr Johnson said the UK is “of course” going to take refugees and pledged to help people “fleeing in fear of their lives".

“This country's had a historic and proud role in taking refugees from all conflicts. And if you think what we did in Afghanistan, for instance, the UK was way out in front,” he said.

“The UK is way out in front in our willingness to help with refugees. We've sent 1,000 troops to the theatre, to be ready to help with the influx and, of course, we will help people fleeing in fear of their lives.”

After talking by telephone to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mr Johnson said the West had to do everything possible to change the “very heavy odds” against Ukraine in its struggle against Moscow's forces.

He confirmed Britain would be sending more arms to the Ukrainians and said that the financial measures were essential to put pressure on the Kremlin.

“It is incredibly important for tightening the economic ligature around the Putin regime,” he said.

The main Russian armoured columns are reported to be 30 kilometres from the centre of Kiev, where its defenders are expecting a new onslaught.

Mr Johnson said: “Let's be in no doubt, things are not going all the way of President Putin, very far from it.

“The Ukrainians are fighting heroically, and in some places with great success, as many of us thought they would because they're a great country and a very brave country.

“But there are some terrible atrocities being committed and there will be some very grim days ahead for Ukraine.”

Updated: February 27, 2022, 3:40 AM