British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that the recent attack on a kindergarten in the eastern Ukrainian town of Stanitsa Luganska was an operation “aimed at discrediting Ukrainians”.
“We fear this is something we will see more of in the coming days,” Johnson said from Lincolnshire in England.
Johnson’s comments came after Britain, the United States and NATO warned that Russia would try to use a false “pretext” to invade Ukraine. “I wish I could give everyone better news on this, but I have to tell you the reality is still very grim,” Johnson added.
“Today, as you now know, a kindergarten has been bombed in what we consider, as we know, a pseudo-science operation aimed at discrediting Ukrainians, creating a pretext, and falsely provoking Russian action,” Johnson said.
The Prime Minister explained that all efforts are being made to strengthen the package of sanctions that will be approved immediately in the event of a Russian invasion.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss described the incident, in which three people were reportedly injured, as “a blatant attempt by the Russian government to make excuses for the invasion.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the incident a “great provocation” and accused pro-Russian forces of bombing the kindergarten.
For its part, Moscow indicated that it was “extremely concerned” about the escalation after the separatists accused Ukrainian forces of opening fire on its territory.
“The situation near the Russian border could escalate at any moment,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
* Translated by Daniel Gallego.
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