Russian army unit at undisclosed location, February 20th 2022
Russian army unit at undisclosed location, February 20th 2022REUTERS

A senior British minister said Tuesday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already begun, calling Russia’s recognition of parts of eastern Ukraine as independent, breakaway states an “attack” on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Health Minister Sajid Javid, a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet, said in an interview with Sky News Tuesday morning that Russia’s announcement that it considers territories in eastern Ukraine to be independent is tantamount to an assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The “invasion of Ukraine has begun,” Javid said, adding that the West is “wake up to a very dark day,” Tuesday.

“We are waking up to a very dark day in Europe and it’s clear from what we have already seen and found out today that the Russians, president Putin, has decided to attack the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity.”

“We have seen that he has recognized these breakaway eastern regions in Ukraine and from the reports we can already tell that he has sent in tanks and troops.”

“From that you can conclude that the invasion of Ukraine has begun.”

Prime Minister Johnson convened an emergency meeting Tuesday in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s executive order Monday recognizing the independence of pro-Russian separatist groups in eastern Ukraine.

Hours later, Putin ordered his defense ministry to dispatch peacekeepers to Donetsk and Luhansk, eastern Ukraine's two breakaway regions, Reuters reported.

The decision prompted the US to relocate its mission in Ukraine to Poland, Bloomberg reported Monday.