The West “blinked” and did not understand troops needed to be on the ground in Ukraine earlier this year and sanctions will only push Russia towards China, the chair of the defence committee has told Sky News.
Tobias Ellwood, in Kyiv, told Kay Burley: “It would have taken five days to mobilise those forces, at the request of Ukraine, this is what they actually wanted but we blinked, we didn’t appreciate the full picture.
“We didn’t have the situational awareness to say ‘my goodness, this is not just about Ukraine there’s something else going on here’.
“The West is now appreciating that, there’s no doubt about that.
“But, I worry that still isn’t fully understood. Any sanctions that are imposed onto Russia, they will retaliate and it will give Putin the excuse to pivot his country away from the West towards an alliance with China.”
The former army captain and defence minister added that Moscow turning to Beijing could have “massive implications for geo-security over the next few decades”.
He also said Russia could still invade Ukraine “at any moment”, despite Moscow saying it is pulling troops back to their bases following training exercises.