Johnson said the war could stretch out for a “long period” and that the West needed to sort out Ukraine’s post-war security situation.
“Eventually what the Ukrainians want, and I think are now going to get, is a collection of security guarantees from like-minded countries, security commitments about what we can do to back them up with weaponry, with training and with intelligence sharing,” he said.
He said this would not operate like NATO’s article 5 guarantee, which says that all member countries will come to the collective defence of any member country that is attacked, but would enable Ukraine to offer “deterrence by denial”.
“To make sure that their territory is so fortified as to be impregnable in the future from further attack from Russia,” he said.
But Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the West must avoid at all costs a nuclear war with Russia when defending his country’s failure to send any heavy weapons to Ukraine as well as continued purchasing of Russian oil and gas.
“I absolutely do not see how a gas embargo would end the war,” Scholz told Der Speigel.
“If Putin were open to economic arguments, he would never have begun this crazy war.
“Secondly, you act as if this was about money. But it’s about avoiding a dramatic economic crisis and the loss of millions of jobs and factories that would never again open their doors.”
Russia stepped up its assault in Ukraine’s east as fresh satellite pictures showed larger-than-previously thought mass graves being dug near Mariupol.
Russian General Rustam Minnekaev was quoted by Russian state agencies as saying the goal was to establish a land bridge from Crimea, which Putin illegally annexed in 2014, and establish full control over the Donbas and southern Ukraine.
“Control over the south of Ukraine is another way out to Transnistria, where there are also facts of oppression of the Russian-speaking population,” Minnekaev was quoted as telling the annual meeting of the Union of Defence Industries of the Sverdlovsk Region.
Russia this week began a new offensive focussed on claiming Ukraine’s east after its disastrous failure to seize the capital of Kyiv.
Russia’s Defence Ministry says it has struck 58 military targets in Ukraine overnight into Friday, including sites where troops, fuel depots and military equipment were concentrated. It also reported hitting dozens of targets in the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions.
The ministry said it had also struck three targets using high-precision missiles in Ukraine, including an S-300 air defence system and a large concentration of Ukrainian troops with their equipment.
Kharkiv’s governor Oleg Sinegubov said Russian artillery hit the centre of the city and the targets were all “exclusively residential districts and residential areas,” in comments distributed on Ukrainian government Telegram channels.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian AN-26 transport plane crashed during a “technical flight” in southern Ukraine on Friday afternoon (AEST) and there were casualties, local authorities said.
Details of the crash, in the Zaporizhzhia region, were being verified.
The Kremlin said Putin would meet with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres next week.
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