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Putin warns of 'consequences greater than any faced in history' if West intervenes
24 February 2022, 13:48 | Updated: 24 February 2022, 14:31
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a chilling warning to Western nations after mounting a full scale invasion of Ukraine.
Putin has announced Russia had launched a military attack on Ukraine, warning 'outside' nations: "Whoever tries to hinder us, or threaten our country or our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to consequences that you have never faced in your history.
"We are ready for any turn of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. I hope that I will be heard.
"What is happening today does not come out of a desire to infringe on the interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. It is related to the protection of Russia itself from those who took Ukraine hostage and are trying to use it against our country and its people."
He made the remarks during a television broadcast around 6am Moscow time.
He described his invasion as a "special military occupation" and said he wants to "demilitarize" and "de-Nazify", not occupy, the country.
Putin accused the west of turning Ukraine into a “hostile anti-Russia on our own historical territories” and suggested it could be used as a platform by the the US to launch attacks on Russia.
Putin cited the right to self-defence as enshrined in Article 51 of the UN charter and vowed “to defend people who have been victims” of “the Kyiv regime” and “demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine”.
He told Ukrainian people to "lay down their arms and go home," and warned clashes between Russian and Ukrainian solders were 'inevitable'.
In an address to the nation today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the "hideous and barbaric venture" of Vladimir Putin "must end in failure".
He said: "It's because we've been so alarmed in recent months at Russian intimidation that the UK became one of the first countries in Europe to send defensive weaponry to help the Ukrainians.
"Other allies have now done the same and we will do what more we can in the days ahead.
"Today, in concert with our allies we will agree a massive package of economic sanctions designed in time to hobble the Russian economy.
"And to that end, we must also collectively cease the dependence on Russian oil and gas that for too long has given Putin his grip on Western politics.
"Our mission is clear. Diplomatically, politically, economically, and eventually, militarily, this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure."
He said the UK and the world cannot allow Ukraine's freedom to be "snuffed out".
He said: "A vast invasion is under way by land, by sea and by air. And this is not, in the infamous phrase, some faraway country of which we know little.
"We have Ukrainian friends in this country, neighbours, co-workers. Ukraine is a country that for decades has enjoyed freedom and democracy, and the right to choose its own destiny.
"We and the world cannot allow that freedom just to be snuffed out. We cannot and will not just look away."