Boris Johnson to address nation at noon after Russia declares war on Ukraine

The PM earlier said he was ‘appalled by the horrific events’ in Ukraine

Related video: Long car queues as Ukrainians attempt to flee amid Russian invasion

Boris Johnson will address the nation at noon before giving a statement to parliament hours after he joined world leaders in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

After missile strikes were reported in major cities of the eastern European country, the prime minister said Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, had “chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction”.

“I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelensky to discuss next steps,” Mr Johnson tweeted earlier on Thursday.

Before chairing an emergency Cobra meeting to discuss the next steps, he added the UK and its allies would respond “decisively” as London warned that Moscow would “incur severe costs’’ of its actions.

It is widely expected the prime minister will reveal the next tranche of sanctions during his update to MPs – expected at about 5pm – after imposing sanctions against five Russian banks and three oligarchs associated with Vladimir Putin earlier this week.

James Cleverly, the Foreign Office minister, earlier insisted “unprecedented” sanctions could still have a “meaningful impact” on the actions of the Kremlin after Russian forces launched an overnight military assault on Ukraine.

It comes after the initial package of sanctions was criticised by senior Conservative backbenchers and opposition figures, including the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who stressed: “The hardest possible sanctions must be taken against all those linked to Putin.”

After missile strikes were reported in the early hours of Thursday morning, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, warned it “could be the beginning of a big war on the European continent” as he appealed for help.

As the crisis intensified, flights between the UK and Ukraine were suspended and the Foreign Office updated its travel advice to warn that British nationals in Ukraine “should not expect increased consular support or help with evacuating”.

The advice added: “Ukraine’s airspace is closed. It is likely that commercial routes out of Ukraine will be severely disrupted and roads across Ukraine could be closed.”

“If you are in the vicinity of military activity and you cannot leave safely, you should stay indoors, away from windows, and remain alert to developments that would allow you to leave safely.”

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