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Johnson tells Ukraine that West was ‘too slow’ to grasp Russia threat – POLITICO

LONDON — The West was “too slow” to grasp the Russian threat and act against it, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted Tuesday during an address to Ukraine’s parliament.

Speaking via video link from London, Johnson called for Ukraine’s “friends” to be “humble” about their failure to act in 2014 when Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea and invaded the Donbas.

“The truth is that we were too slow to grasp what was really happening and we collectively failed to impose the sanctions then that we should have put on Vladimir Putin,” Johnson said. “We cannot make the same mistake again.”

The U.K. prime minister stood for the Ukrainian national anthem, before being introduced by the speaker of the parliament, according to an account of the address released by No. 10 Downing Street.

“Ukraine will win. Ukraine will be free,” Johnson said, adding that the U.K. would do whatever it could to hold Russia to account for war crimes.

Ukrainians had “exploded the myth of Putin’s invincibility,” Johnson said.

“Your farmers kidnapped Russian tanks with their tractors. Your pensioners told Russian soldiers to ‘hop’ as we say, although they may have used more colorful language. Even in the parts of Ukraine that were temporarily captured, your populations, your indomitable populations turned out to protest, day after day,” he added.

Johnson also used the address to pledge a “new package of support” including radars to pinpoint artillery bombarding cities, heavy lift drones and thousands of night-vision devices. He said Brimstone anti-ship missiles and Stormer anti-aircraft systems would arrive “in the coming weeks.”

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