Lincolnshire’s military strength is “crucial” to the government’s abilities to monitor what’s going on in Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
Mr Johnson visited RAF Waddington as part of a tour of the county where he spoke about the current tensions with Russia caused by the massive deployment troops along its border, and other subjects such as devolution, government funding and levelling up.
During his tour, he examined some of the “extraordinary machines” the RAF uses, including planes and drones.
“Lincolnshire is crucial to our abilities to monitor what’s going on,” Boris Johnson said in an interview at The Lincolnite offices.
“RAF Waddington is an incredible centre for intelligence gathering and surveillance.
“The things they are reporting are very useful in knowing whether the Russians really are moving their tanks backwards or not, what’s really happening with the disposition of forces.”
Russia has denied plans to invade the Ukraine, but opposition forces say that claims it has taken troops away from the border are not the case.
The US has been moving troops closer to the border today as tensions escalate.
“I’m afraid the bad news is that the Russians are basically having us on, when they say that they’re withdrawing,” said Mr Johnson.
“They’re not withdrawing, clearly they’re encroaching.”
There’s a familiar face on the tarmac at @RAFWaddington
— Tim Iredale (@iredalepolitics) February 17, 2022
He said “nobody in their right minds” wanted a conflict with Russia, adding it would “be a tragedy”.
“I hope that President Putin pulls back from the brink. There’s room for discussion, there’s room for diplomacy, there’s room for conversation about Russia’s concerns, without compromising the fundamental principle that Ukraine has got to be able to decide its own destiny.”
He praised Lincolnshire’s “very proud” history of support for the armed forces – particularly the RAF.
“I’m sure Lincolnshire will continue to play a very important part but we do not want that you know, I want to stress we don’t want conflict.”