‘He won’t stop at Ukraine’: Warnings Putin could go further amid warnings of full-scale invasion

Watch: Vladimir Putin 'won't just stop at Ukraine', foreign secretary warns

Vladimir Putin "won't just stop at Ukraine" as the prospect of a "full-scale" invasion continues to loom, the foreign secretary has said.

Ukraine entered a state of emergency on Wednesday and began to call up military reservists amid fears of war, as Russian tanks and around 200,000 troops sit in readiness on the borders.

Russia has started evacuating its diplomatic staff from all of its diplomatic facilities in Ukraine, the TASS news agency reported, citing a representative of Russia's embassy in Kyiv.

Putin authorised "peacekeeping" soldiers into two breakaway regions in Donetsk and Luhansk on Tuesday, having formally recognised them as independent, in a move that amounts to the beginning of an invasion according to Western leaders.

Liz Truss warned Putin could have bigger plans under wraps.

She told ITV: "He’s said he doesn’t believe in the existence of Ukraine, he believes it should be under Russian control and I fear we have to take him at his word, he won’t just stop in Ukraine either.

“He has also talked about turning the clock back to the 1990s where Russia had control over vast swathes of eastern Europe.”

Moscow denies planning an invasion and has described warnings as anti-Russian hysteria. It has also taken no steps to withdraw the troops deployed along Ukraine's frontiers.

Read more: Ukraine to impose state of emergency, says top security official

A tank drives along a street after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of Russian troops to two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine following the recognition of their independence, in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine February 22, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
A tank drives along a street after Putin ordered the deployment of Russian troops to two breakaway regions. (Reuters)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks during a press conference with his Belarus counterpart, following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 18, 2022. - Vladimir Putin said on February 18, 2022 that the situation in conflict-hit eastern Ukraine was worsening, as the West accuses him of planning an imminent attack on the country. (Photo by Sergei GUNEYEV / Sputnik / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI GUNEYEV/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
The UK will inflict more pain on Vladimir Putin if he decides to mount a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the foreign secretary has said. (Getty)

Boris Johnson yesterday announced a series of sanctions after Putin ordered Russian tanks and soldiers into eastern Ukraine.

The PM targeted five banks and three individuals who have had their assets frozen and been banned from travelling to the UK.

Johnson has been accused of weakness and failing to go far enough with the measures.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pressed the PM to impose more sanctions, saying: “There has already been an invasion. There is clearly concern across the House that his strategy, I accept unintentionally, could send the wrong message."

Johnson insisted the UK was poised to go further, insisting that “any Russian entity, any Russian individual” and members of the Russian parliament could now be targeted by UK sanctions if needed.

Read more: Vladimir Putin gets permission for military force outside Russia from parliament

NATO deployments in Europe as Russia mounts troops on the border with Ukraine (Reuters)
NATO deployments in Europe as Russia mounts troops on the border with Ukraine (Reuters)

Putin formally recognised Donetsk and Luhansk as independent on Monday, effectively ripping up the 2015 Minsk peace treaty and further inflaming tense relations with the West.

Liz Truss says the UK will inflict even more pain on Putin if he invades Ukraine (Sky News)
Liz Truss says the UK will inflict even more pain on Putin if he invades Ukraine (Sky News)

Watch: Tanks and armoured personnel carriers near Donetsk

On Tuesday, the Russian parliament gave the green light for Putin to deploy troops abroad, further fuelling fears that a full invasion is imminent.

Around 200,000 Russia troops are now stationed along the Ukrainian border, sparking fears that a full assault on the capital of Kyiv could be part of Russia's plan.

Diplomacy attempts have been made in an effort to diffuse the situations, but summits have become increasingly fraught between Putin and the West.

Watch: Boris Johnson unleashes sanctions on Russia

The US ambassador to the United Nations has said it is still not too late for a diplomatic solution.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that war could be averted if Moscow ceased its aggression towards it neighbour and returned to the negotiating table.

“As you heard President Biden say yesterday, we have not given up on diplomacy,” Thomas-Greenfield told an online briefing.

“The Russians can cease their current actions and come back to the negotiating table and find a way forward that is not going to lead to this devastating conflict that will lead to the loss of thousands more lives in Ukraine.”

Her comments came after the White House announced earlier this week that it was scrapping plans for a possible summit between President Biden and President Putin following Russia’s recognition of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.