Boris Johnson today accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of having ambitions to reconstitute the great Russia, targeting other states of the former Soviet Union to rebuild what the British prime minister described as Russias old sphere of influence.

What Putin basically wants is to go back to the old system of spheres of influence, and its not just Ukraine. . thats his plan,” Johnson told the House of Commons.

He called on European allies to be ready to impose a new package of tough sanctions against Russia in case it invades Ukraine, noting that Western unity would help deter Russian aggression.

We have a tough sanctions package ready and what I think it would be fair to say is that we want to see our European friends ready to put that package in place as soon as there is any Russian incursion into Ukraine,” Johnson told the British Parliament.

It is absolutely vital that the West is united now, because our unity now will be much more effective in deterring any Russian aggression. ” He added that Britain would not hesitate to reinforce sanctions on Moscow and would try to contribute to any NATO deployment if Russia invaded Ukraine.

Economic sanctions against Russia are strengthened

NATO announced yesterday that it has put forces on standby and is reinforcing Eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets in what Russia condemned as Westernhysteriain response to the troop build-up on the Ukrainian border. However, he said he was ready to talk to President Putin again.

Britain and other NATO allies must be careful not to give Russia an excuse to invade Ukraine, he said, adding that no NATO ally is prepared to send large numbers of troops to fight for Ukraine. “I have to be careful what we do. . that would be a pretext for (Putin) to invade,” Johnson said.

We have to calculate and calibrate what were doing very carefully and I think were building a strong package of economic sanctions, continuing to supply defence weapons and all the other things were doing thats the right package. ”

We in the UK will not hesitate to strengthen our national sanctions against Russia in response to anything President Putin might do and the House of Commons will hear more about that soon,” Johnson said.

Russia seeks to restore theIron Curtain

The British prime minister added that London would look to contribute to any new NATO deployments to protect its allies in Europe if Russia invades Ukraine. If Putins goal is to keep NATO forces away from Russias borders, theninvading Ukraine by force might be more counterproductive,” he said.

We cannot bargain away the vision of a whole and free Europe that emerged in those amazing years from 1989 to 1991,” Johnson said, referring to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of communist rule in Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

By healing the division of our continent by the Iron Curtain, we will not reopen this gap by agreeing to overthrow the European security order because Russia has put a gun to Ukraines head. “