Russia invades Ukraine latest: Live updates, latest news and reaction after Vladimir Putin orders military action in Ukraine
For the latest updates on Friday February 25, visit today's live blog here.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Petrol prices have shot up, markets have fallen dramatically and one retired Army officer suggested the UK could be at war with Russia soon.
General Sir Richard Shirreff said any incursion into Nato territory would bring Britain into direct involvement in the conflict.
“There is no surprise and there is profound sadness and a sense of appalling horror at what is about to unfold for the people of Ukraine,” he said.
“And I think we have to assume that this is not Russia biting off a chunk of Ukraine – for example, establishing a land corridor in Crimea – but a full-blown military offensive to occupy Ukraine.”
Sir Richard said it is “entirely plausible” that Russian President Vladimir Putin could be aiming to revive the Soviet Union, adding that if Russia puts “one bootstep” into Nato territory, the entire alliance will be at war.
Boris Johnson said the Russian president has "chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction", and is expected to announce further sanctions.
The meeting of the Cobra emergency committee follows a call between Mr Johnson and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky during the night as Russia launched its assault.
The Prime Minister - whose initial package of sanctions was criticised by senior Tories and opposition figures - has promised to respond "decisively" to the Russian onslaught.
"I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelensky to discuss next steps," he said.
"President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
"The UK and our allies will respond decisively."
Meanwhile, Yorkshire MPs have taken to social media to share their feelings on the issue.
Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn said: "Despite Russia’s repeated claims that they had no plans to invade Ukraine we now know that was a lie. Full sanctions must be applied now."
Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton labelled the invasion a "blatant violation of international law". He said: "Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is completely unprovoked and a blatant violation of international law.
"The world’s democracies must come together to deliver the strongest possible response to support the Ukrainian people. We must not tolerate this disgraceful act of aggression."
Russia Ukraine crisis: Latest updates, news and reaction
Flights between the UK and Ukraine have been suspended as the crisis in the eastern European country intensifies.
Ukraine closed its airspace in the early hours of Thursday morning after Russia launched a major military assault.
The UK Foreign Office updated its travel advice to warn that British nationals in Ukraine “should not expect increased consular support or help with evacuating”.
Wizz Air cancelled its flights between Luton Airport and the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Lviv on Thursday.
Ryanair and Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) – the other carriers which fly between the UK and Ukraine – also suspended those routes.
The Russian Embassy in London this morning
Welcome to our blog keeping you up to date with the latest in the Ukraine crisis after Russia carried out a number of attacks in the region overnight.
Petrol and diesel prices have reached new record highs.
Figures from data firm Experian Catalist show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on Wednesday was 149.43p, while diesel cost 152.83p.
Prices are expected to rise further due to the Ukraine crisis.
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said news that further sanctions are imminent has sparked a “huge reduction in Russia’s economic abilities to fund this invasion”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The sanctions package that will be put in response to this is already actually having an effect. Just the announcement that it’s coming – we’ve seen the Russian stock market, the equivalent of the FTSE, drop by over 30%.
“That is a huge reduction in Russia’s economic abilities to fund this invasion.
“And those sanctions will be laid today and over forthcoming days to really prevent Russia from funding this invasion.”
Ukraine’s armed forces
Flight Tracker is showing planes avoiding Ukraine’s airspace
The Duke of Cambridge made a secret visit to MI6 – just hours before Russia launched its attack on Ukraine.
Second in line to the throne William privately visited the Secret Intelligence Service, which deals with foreign intelligence and protects the UK from risks abroad, in London on Wednesday morning.