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UK’s Johnson says Putin crossed line ‘into barbarism’

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson disembarks a plane to attend a special meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2022. (Henry Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson disembarks a plane to attend a special meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2022. (Henry Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP)

BRUSSELS — NATO leaders are refusing to rule out retaliation against Russia should it launch a chemical weapons attack on Ukraine — but British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thinks Moscow has already gone too far.

“The reality is that (President) Vladimir Putin has already crossed the red line into barbarism,” Johnson tells reporters as he arrived for the summit of NATO leaders.

Johnson says that “it’s now up to NATO to consider together the appalling crisis in Ukraine, the appalling suffering of the people of Ukraine, and to see what more we can do to help the people of Ukraine to protect themselves.”

As an organization, NATO is not providing weapons to Ukraine. The 30-nation alliance refuses to send troops to Ukraine, either for combat or peacekeeping, and has said it will not deploy aircraft to protect civilians or police any no-fly zone.

But member countries are providing weapons and other assistance, individually or in groups.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo describes Putin as “a Russian leader who has lost any sense of what is reasonable these days.”

De Croo warns that “if chemical weapons or anything else could be used, that would have definitely grave consequences.” No NATO leader has elaborated yet on what that might mean.

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