Boris Johnson’s future ‘in Putin’s hands’ as Ukraine invasion would ‘dominate’ news agenda

Russia: Ukraine invasion 'more likely than not' says Cotton

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The Prime Minister has been given a questionnaire by the Metropolitan Police as part of the investigation into parties at Downing Street that allegedly broke Covid rules. A spokesperson said Mr Johnson would “respond as required” to the questions, which police have emailed to more than 50 people. A string of Tory MPs have called for the Prime Minister to resign over the so-called ‘Partygate’ scandal and have submitted letters of no confidence in his leadership.

As Mr Johnson fights to save his premiership, the embattled leader is also dealing with the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Fears have mounted over the last few months as more than 100,000 Russian forces have assembled near the border with Ukraine.

Moscow has consistently denied that it plans to invade its neighbour, but the US has said an invasion could take place “at any time”.

On a visit to the headquarters of the NATO military alliance this week, Mr Johnson said the crisis had entered its “most dangerous moment”.

As tensions over Russia and Ukraine continue to build, a political expert claimed to that Mr Johnson’s political future in the UK hinges on the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Dr Nicholas Dickinson from the University of Oxford said: “I think in some sense, this is in the hands of Vladimir Putin.

“If there is an invasion of Ukraine, that will, understandably, dominate global news agendas across the world, likely for months.

“And indeed, that may well be enough to save his leadership in the short term.

“Whether by the time we come to the May elections, and the Conservatives are losing council seats, if the polling doesn’t improve, will that be enough to save him?”

One of the most recent polls found that as many as 75 percent of voters think Mr Johnson should resign if he is found guilty of breaking Covid rules.

Commissioned for the Independent this weekend, the study of 2,232 people found that 49 percent think the Prime Minister should step down no matter what the Met and senior civil servant Sue Gray find in their full Partygate inquiries.

Polling company YouGov’s monthly approval rating tracker found in mid-January that 73 percent of people thought Mr Johnson was doing badly as Prime Minister.

Dr Dickinson drew parallels with history as he considered whether the Prime Minister’s focus on foreign policy could save his job.

He said: “Of course, a major war in Europe would largely, I think, quell the domestic political crisis.

“As we’ve seen before, in fact. This is what we saw at the beginning of World War 1.

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“The political crisis that was engulfing the Liberal Party was essentially put on hold for several years at the start of the war.

“So, it is, I think, not unlikely at all. But, of course, Boris Johnson has no direct control over those events.

“Those events are in the hands of those in the Kremlin, Not in Number 10.”

The crisis over Ukraine has escalated in recent days, as British and other foreign nationals were warned to leave the country.

The US State Department has also told non-essential staff to leave its Embassy in Kiev.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the US of trying to spark a conflict over Ukraine.

During a phone call with his US counterpart Antony Blinken, he claimed Washington was engaged in a “propaganda campaign” against Moscow.

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