In a nearly 1,300-word essay in the New York Times published on Sunday, Boris Johnson said darker days are ahead as he appealed to his counterparts to do more to resist the normalisation of the Russian offensive against Ukraine.
“Have we done enough for Ukraine? The honest answer is no,” he wrote, as he set out a six-point plan which he thinks will tackle Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advance.
PM Johnson said “never in my life have I seen an international crisis where the dividing line between right and wrong has been so stark”, as he insisted world leaders “must not allow anyone in the Kremlin to get away with misrepresenting our intentions to find post-facto justification for their war of choice”.
For the last 11 days, Russian forces continues to push towards the Ukranian capital Kyiv as Putin insists the invasion is meant to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO.
But Mr Johnson said: “The truth is that Ukraine had no serious prospect of Nato membership in the near future.
“This is not a Nato conflict and it will not become one. No ally has sent combat troops to Ukraine.
“We were ready to respond to Russia’s stated security concerns through negotiation. I and many other Western leaders have spoken to President Putin to understand his perspective.
“It was now clear diplomacy never had a chance. But it is precisely because of our respect for Russia that we find the actions of the Putin regime so unconscionable.
“We have no hostility towards the Russian people and we have no desire to impugn a great nation, a world power and a founding member of the United Nations. We despair of the decision to send young innocent Russians into a bloody and futile war.”
Mr Johnson called on leaders to mobilise an “international humanitarian coalition” for Ukraine and support the country “in its efforts to provide for its own self-defence”.
The economic pressure on Kremlin should be ratcheted up, he said, and leaders must resist the “creeping normalisation” of what Russia is doing in Ukraine.
“We have failed to learn the lessons of Russian behaviour that have led to this point,” he wrote.
“No-one can say we were not warned: we saw what Russia did in Georgia in 2008, Ukraine in 2014 and even on the streets of the British city of Salisbury. And I know from speaking to my counterparts on recent visits to Poland and Estonia just how acutely they feel the threat.”
More than 1.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine in the past 10 days in the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War, the United Nations has said.