Russia invasion of Ukraine 'only a matter of time' as the West has 'no balls' to fight Putin, says former KGB spy

RUSSIA'S invasion of Ukraine is "only a matter of time" as the West has "no balls" to withstand Vladimir Putin, a former KGB spy has warned.

The grave warning from Russian defector Boris Karpichkov, 62, comes as 100,000 troops are currently massed on the Ukraine border, prompting imminent war fears.

It is feared Putin could launch a full scale invasion in a matter of weeks – or even days – to seize territory given up by Russia in the fall of the Soviet Union.

Britain and the US have already begun withdrawing some staff and their families from Ukraine over fears Russia could invade any day.

Nato has sent additional warships and fighter jets to its deployments in eastern Europe as Russian military tanks are reportedly being "shipped to the border" of Ukraine.

Mr Karpichkov told The Sun Online: "Putin is unpredictable – he can easily go ahead without anyone's advice and just command.

"It's just a matter of time. Putin wants to expand Russia to at least the borders of the former Soviet Union."

But Mr Karpichkov, who spied for the Russians in Latvia in the 1990s before defecting to the UK, insisted the West will not get involved in the looming conflict.

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He said: "The West won't get involved – the West has no balls to withstand Putin.

"The Russian submarine fleet is huge now – I don't even think the United States submarine fleet can withstand the Russian fleet.

"Russia also have allies, such as China, India and South Africa. It's only a matter of time before Russia invades Ukraine.

"But this thing is unpredictable – it could happen today or it could happen in two months."

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Mr Karpichkov, who is now a British citizen, added: "Putin doesn't care about sanctions from the West.

"The only thing that can stop Putin is freezing assets, really freezing them – Putin's and all of Russia's tycoons." 

Russia has insisted it has no plans to attack Ukraine, and armed forces chief Valery Gerasimov even denounced reports of an impending invasion as a lie.

But the US said Russia has offered no explanation for the troops posted close to Ukraine.

Western intelligence also suggests a Russian incursion or invasion could happen some time in early 2022.

Nato said it is now taking steps to "reinforce the Allied deterrence and defence as Russia continues its military build-up in and around Ukraine".

Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania in support of Nato, while Spain is sending ships to join naval forces.

France said it is ready to send troops to Romania under Nato command, and the Netherlands is sending two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April to support Nato's air-policing activities in the region.

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It comes as Ireland told Moscow that planned war games off its coast in the Atlantic are "not welcome".

Russia said its navy would stage a set of exercises involving all its fleets from the Pacific to the Atlantic in the latest show of strength in a surge of military activity during a standoff with the West.

The Ukrainian ambassador to the UK said the risk of Russia invading Ukraine is "extremely high".

Vadym Prystaiko said 100,000 troops are currently "not enough" but Putin is "gradually building up" his power with helicopters and S-400 systems.

Prystaiko told LBC: "We believe that the risk is extremely high.

"Either [Putin] is still playing this game, threatening us more and more, not just us the European NATO as well, gradually building up forces.

"At the moment it is not enough to topple us, we will fight, but who knows what will come back."


The ambassador also pledged his country will fight to the death with Russia – but admitted his nation would not last long in such a military conflict.

He said: “We will fight to the death. Unfortunately, so many people in our nation will die but we’ll try to get as many Russians, as they come.

“We are gathering the forces but we are not that well equipped for the prolonged fight with the Russians."

Meanwhile, Dominic Raab said the Russian President will face "very serious consequences" in case of an invasion.

The deputy prime minister said there is a "very significant risk of an invasion".

He told Sky: "The Foreign Secretary and Foreign Office have come out making clear what the designs of the Russian government are.

"We don't go into things like sources, but it's very clear there's a concerted military build-up and a threat to the democracy and integrity of Ukraine.

"Putin and Moscow have a habit of trying to take advantage of opportunities when the world's attention is elsewhere."

The UK Foreign Office said today it was pulling some diplomats from its embassy in Kiev "in response to growing threat from Russia".

It comes after the US ordered diplomats' families to leave Ukraine – saying an invasion could come "at any time".

PM Boris Johnson has warned Putin that invading Ukraine would be "painful, violent and bloody".

He will despatch Cabinet ministers across the ­continent following the UK’s delivery of lethal aid to Ukraine, including 2,000 missiles and a specialist team of military trainers.

A Downing Street source said: “The PM’s view is that the situation in Ukraine is the biggest test to the unity and resolve of the West and the Nato alliance in decades.”

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