Russia

How did tensions lead to potential Russia invasion of Ukraine?

Boris Johnson said warned Russia an invasion of Ukraine "could be a new Chechnya" as British staff at the embassy in Kyiv were withdrawn.

Over the weekend, Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, warned there was a "very significant" risk Russia would mount an invasion of Ukraine.

Now, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Russia an invasion of Ukraine "could be a new Chechnya" as British staff at the embassy in Kyiv are withdrawn.

But how did tensions between Russia, Ukraine and NATO build up to a possible invasion?

Watch: Which UK anti-tank missile is Ukraine getting as Russia tension rises?

Defence Secretary not optimistic Russian invasion of Ukraine can be stopped - 27 January 2022

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace admitted he was "not optimistic" a Russian incursion into Ukraine can be stopped as he prepares to meet his counterpart in Moscow.

Mr Wallace is set to meet Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu to discuss the threat to Ukraine, telling the BBC from Germany there was still "a chance" an invasion could be halted, but added  he was "not optimistic." 

This follows reports that the Defence Secretary has said Britain is considering increasing its military presence in eastern Europe due to growing concerns Russia might be preparing to invade Ukraine.

PM: UK would look to be part of any new NATO deployments if Russia invades Ukraine - 25 January 2022

The Prime Minister said the UK plans on being part of any new NATO deployments if Russia invades Ukraine.

Boris Johnson told the House of Commons the Government cannot "bargain away" the vision of a free Europe which emerged between 1989 and 1991, the latter year being when the Cold War is generally considered to have ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"The British Army leads the NATO battlegroup in Estonia and, if Russia invades Ukraine, we would look to contribute to any new NATO deployments to protect our allies in Europe," he said.

Watch: UK could send troops to Baltic States amid Russia tensions.

Warning Russian operatives may already be in Ukraine ahead of potential invasion - 25 January 2022

Russia may already have personnel in place in Ukraine to assist with an invasion, the UK Government believes.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told MPs there were individuals already in Ukraine "linked to the Russian state in ways that are not conventional" and "that should give cause for concern".

"We are becoming aware of a significant number of individuals that are assessed to be associated with Russian military advance force operations that currently are located in Ukraine," he said.

Prime Minister warns Russia planning 'lightning war' to take out Kyiv – 24 January 2022

Boris Johnson warned "gloomy" intelligence suggested Russia was planning a lightning raid on Kyiv.

It came after news British staff and their families had started to leave the Ukrainian capital.

The Prime Minister warned President Vladimir Putin an invasion of Ukraine would be a "disastrous step" that could see Russia bogged down in a bloody and protracted conflict.

Mr Johnson added he did not believe war was inevitable and there was a chance that "sense can still prevail".

But confirming the exit of some British staff from the embassy, he said: "We do think it prudent to make some changes now.

"The intelligence is very clear that there are 60 Russian battle groups on the borders of Ukraine, the plan for a lightning war that could take out Kyiv is one that everybody can see.

"I think it's very important that people in Russia understand that this could be a new Chechnya."

Britain accuses Putin of plot to install Kremlin ally in Ukraine – 23 January 2022

Britain has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of plotting to install a pro-Moscow leader as head of the government in Ukraine.

The Foreign Office took the unusual step of naming former Ukrainian MP Yevhen Murayev as a potential Kremlin candidate to take over in Kyiv.

They also named four other Ukrainian politicians who, it said, maintained links with the Russian intelligence services.

They include Mykola Azarov who served as prime minister under the pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych who was toppled in a popular uprising in 2014.

Watch: How likely is a Russian invasion of Ukraine?

US and Russia's top diplomats agree to keep talking amid Ukraine tension – 22 January 2022

Top US and Russian diplomats agreed to keep talking despite a stand-off over Ukraine.

The diplomatic intentions were clear – Russia wanted assurances NATO will not sign up new members like Ukraine, while the US and NATO want assurances that Russia will not invade Ukraine.

A diplomatic summit in Switzerland, aimed at reducing tensions, did not bring about any change.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov met for about 90 minutes in Geneva at what the American diplomat said was a "critical moment".

Mr Blinken told Mr Lavrov the US would give Russia written responses to Moscow's proposals and suggested the two would likely meet again shortly after that.

UK providing light anti-armour defensive weapons to Ukraine amid Russia tensions – 17 January 2022

The UK provided "self-defence" weapons and training to Ukraine.

The Defence Secretary confirmed the first weapons systems arrived in Ukraine today, as well as the British troops training Ukrainian forces on how to use them.

Ben Wallace told MPs "in light of the increasingly threatening behaviour from Russia" the UK will supply Ukraine with light anti-armour defensive weapons systems.

Watch: NATO chief – 'We will never compromise' on Ukraine's rights, 10 January 2022.

Putin warns of rupture over Ukraine after Biden threatens sanctions – 31 December 2021

US president Joe Biden warned Russian president Vladimir Putin America could impose new sanctions against Russia if it takes further military action against Ukraine.

Mr Putin said such a move could lead to a complete rupture of ties between the nations.

The two leaders spoke frankly for nearly an hour on Thursday amid growing alarm over Russia's troop build-up near Ukraine.

Reports UK 'highly unlikely' to send troops if Russia invades Ukraine – 18 December 2021

The Defence Secretary said it was "highly unlikely" the UK would send troops to Ukraine if Russia invaded.

Mr Wallace and Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Yuriyovych Reznikov issued a joint statement on 16 November, which said they were "concerned" by Russia's military build-up.

However, Mr Wallace told The Spectator Ukraine "is not a member of NATO so it is highly unlikely that anyone is going to send troops into Ukraine to challenge Russia".

"We shouldn't kid people we would," he said. "The Ukrainians are aware of that."

UK and US warn of consequences for Russia over Ukraine – 11 December 2021

The UK and US expressed "deep concern" on Russia's amassed troops at the Ukrainian border and warned of consequences if there is an invasion.

Speaking before a G7 foreign ministers meeting, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss agreed with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken there would be "serious consequences" for Moscow if troops were sent across the border.