In January 2022, the UK argued that the West could not afford to wait to see how things developed along the Russia/Ukraine border.
Like the United States, the British government believed there was a very strong chance that Putin would authorise an invasion - and that the West must prepare for that possibility. Outside of the EU, the UK no longer has influence over the EU’s sanctions policy or its trade relationship with Russia. Instead, London focused on four elements: provide political and military support to Ukraine (the UK first sent anti-tank weapons to Ukraine on 17 January 2022); deterrence, by strengthening NATO; dialogue, by supporting US-Russia talks, discussions in NATO, the OSCE and the Normandy format, and engaging Ukraine and Russia directly; and calling out Russian disinformation.
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