Boris Johnson, 57, is set to hold a COBRA meeting, a Number 10 spokesman has confirmed. The announcement comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin, 69, said Moscow would recognise two regions in east Ukraine as independent states.
The Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister will chair a COBRA at 6.30am to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine and to coordinate the UK response including agreeing a significant package of sanctions to be introduced immediately.”
In response to Russia’s decision to recognise the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, Mr Johnson said: “This is plainly in breach of international law, it’s a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine.”
He added: “I think it’s a very ill omen and a very dark sign.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, 46, has said the UK will announce what sanctions it will impose on Russia on Tuesday.
She said: “Tomorrow we will be announcing new sanctions on Russia in response to their breach of international law and attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Reports also indicate the UK Government is considering sending further defensive support to Kiev.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 44, also revealed he had spoken to Mr Johnson about the developments.
The Prime Minister told his Ukrainian counterpart a Russian invasion was possible “within hours”.
Mr Johnson’s office said: “The Prime Minister told President Zelenskiy that he believed an invasion was a real possibility in the coming hours and days.”
They added: “He told President Zelenskiy that the UK had already drawn up sanctions to target those complicit in the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and that those measures would come into force tomorrow.
“The Prime Minister also said he would explore sending further defensive support to Ukraine, at the request of the Ukrainian Government.”
Mr Zelenskyy also confirmed the pair had held talks.
He said on Twitter: “After the meeting #РНБО discussed the current situation with BorisJohnson.
“We are currently preparing an appeal as soon as possible, and then talks with European Commission President and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are planned.”
Putin ordered his military to enter Donetsk and Luhansk in order to conduct “peacekeeping functions”.
According to the Russian media agency Interfax, a large number of armoured vehicles have also entered the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The report comes shortly after unverified footage started circulating on social media which appeared to show a convoy of Russian troops arriving near the Donetsk frontier.
US President Joe Biden, 79, has since signed an executive order to prohibit trade and investment between Americans and the two breakaway regions.
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A White House statement said: “President Biden signed an Executive Order to respond to President Putin’s action to purportedly recognize the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as ‘independent’ states.
“President Putin’s action contradicts Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements, refutes Russia’s claimed commitment to diplomacy, and undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The statement added: “This Executive Order is distinct from the swift and severe economic measures we are prepared to issue with Allies and partners in response to a further Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We are continuing to closely consult with Ukraine and with Allies and partners on next steps and urge Russia to immediately deescalate.”