UK warns Russia that Ukraine invasion would lead to ‘quagmire’

Moscow at risk of making ‘a massive strategic mistake’ if it invades Ukraine, British foreign secretary said.

LONDON — Ukraine could descend into a “quagmire” like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan unless Moscow abandons plans for a military incursion there, Britain’s foreign secretary is set to warn.

In a speech in Australia Friday, Liz Truss will call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to engage in “meaningful discussions” and “desist and step back from Ukraine before he makes a massive strategic mistake,” according to extracts released in advance by her office.

As many as 100,000 Russian troops remain at the Ukrainian border, despite warnings from U.S. President Joe Biden and European leaders of serious consequences in the event of an invasion. Moscow has also begun moving troops to Belarus, Ukraine’s northern neighbor, for joint military exercises.

In a sign of the increasing sense of urgency among Western nations, the U.K. is supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons, and the U.S. has given the go-ahead for three NATO allies — Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania — to rush anti-armor missiles and other U.S.-made weapons to Ukraine.

In her speech, Britain’s foreign secretary will argue that the “Kremlin has not learned the lessons of history” and warned that a Russian incursion would drag Moscow into a prolonged conflict akin to the Soviet war waged in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

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