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The UK’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘has begun’ as the UK prepares further sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s country.
Speaking on Sky News, the Cabinet minister said: "We are waking up to a very dark day in Europe and it's clear from what we have already seen and found out today that the Russians, President Putin, has decided to attack the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity.
"We have seen that he has recognised these breakaway eastern regions in Ukraine and from the reports we can already tell that he has sent in tanks and troops.
"From that you can conclude that the invasion of Ukraine has begun."
Last night, Putin gave an address to the Russian people in which he said that he plans to officially recognise the People’s Republics of both Luhansk and Donetsk, which is viewed by Ukraine and most countries worldwide as Ukrainian sovereign territory.
Putin then sent troops into both regions to perform ‘peacekeeping duties’.
Javid said it currently remains the case that the UK will not be sending troops to Ukraine.
He told BBC Breakfast: "We've always preferred dialogue and still continue to do so but it's clear from President Putin's actions that he has chosen confrontation over dialogue."
Dame Barbara Woodward, the UK’s ambassador to the United Nations, has also said that Russia has ‘brought us to the brink’ of full-scale war, claiming that Putin’s actions ‘will have severe and far-reaching consequences’.
An invasion – she claimed – would bring forth ‘the forces of war, death, and destruction’ to those in Ukraine.
"The humanitarian impact will be terrible on civilians fleeing the fighting. We know that women and children will suffer most,” she said.
Last night, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky delivered an address to the country.
Just after 2.00am local time, he said: “We are not afraid. We won’t cede anything.
“We are committed to peace and diplomacy. We are on our land, we are not afraid of anyone or anything, and we will not give anything to anyone, and we are sure of that."
In reference to the Ukraine’s military might when Russia took Crimea eight years ago, he said: “It’s not February 2014, but February 2022.”