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Britain, Ukraine, Poland Coordinate as Russia Moves to Protect Its Border

Jonathan Walker
Jonathan loves talking politics, economics and philosophy. He carries unique perspectives on everything making him a rather odd mix of liberal-conservative with a streak of independent Austrian thought.
Published: February 3, 2022
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the presidential palace on Feb. 1, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the presidential palace on Feb. 1, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Image: Peter Nicholls - Pool/Getty Images)

The governments of the UK, Poland, and Ukraine have committed to strengthening trilateral cooperation to protect Ukraine’s borders. To protect its own border, Russia has moved artillery, tanks, and 100,000 troops towards its shared border with Ukraine.

At a joint news conference, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki promised to help Ukraine with supplies of arms and gas as well as economic and humanitarian aid. Militarily, Poland committed to arm Ukraine with surveillance drones, portable air-defense systems, mortars, and artillery ammunition. 

The Polish PM revealed that the foreign ministers of three nations were working together on a format that could “tighten cooperation on various fields.” Morawiecki also asked Berlin not to start work on the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. The Nord Stream 2 is a proposed 745-mile long gas pipeline that will run from western Russia to the northeastern region of Germany. 

“I hope that in the near future we will be able to officially launch a new regional format of cooperation Ukraine-Poland-UK, in the context of ongoing Russian aggression, we should sign a trilateral document on cooperation to strengthen regional security,” Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson later met Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv to discuss Russia. During the meeting, Johnson promised the UK’s “unwavering commitment” to Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders. 

“The United Kingdom stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine… The two leaders emphasized that it is the right of every Ukrainian to determine their own future… Russian incursion in Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake,” declared a Feb. 1 press release by the UK government.

London and Kyiv agreed to work together to boost Ukraine’s ability to defend itself. Johnson also announced that £88 million ($119.33 million) would be given to Ukraine to reduce its energy reliance on Russia.

The UK is considering sending in more troops as part of a NATO deployment in European borders. Johnson is said to be considering making the biggest possible offers to Nordic and Baltic nations who are members of the NATO defense pact. London will also send defensive weapons to Estonia.

“We will always stand with our NATO allies in the face of Russian hostility… I have ordered our Armed Forces to prepare to deploy across Europe next week, ensuring we are able to support our NATO allies,” Johnson said in a statement.

The UK has a legal obligation to protect Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty. In 1994, London and Washington signed a memorandum in Budapest in which both nations promised to provide Ukraine with assistance should it need it.

The agreement was made after Kyiv gave up its nuclear weapons arsenal. Interestingly, one more member is a signatory of the memorandum—Russia. The legal validity of the agreement is in dispute.