LONDON, Feb 14 — UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a fresh diplomatic push in the coming week as part of efforts to defuse the Ukraine crisis, his office said Sunday.

The statement came after his defence minister suggested some nations were not taking a strong enough stand against Moscow, as fears grows among some western the countries that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.

Johnson will hold talks with other world leaders, and is particularly keen to talk to the Nordic and Baltic countries, the statement from Downing Street said.

“The crisis on Ukraine’s border has reached a critical juncture,” said a Downing Street spokesman.

“All the information we have suggests Russia could be planning an invasion of Ukraine at any moment.

“This would have disastrous consequences for both Ukraine and Russia.”

The prime minister would work with Britain’s allies to try to head off the crisis, the spokesman added.

Earlier, in comments published in The Sunday Times newspaper, Johnson’s defence minister Ben Wallace suggested some Western countries were not being tough enough with Moscow.

Wallace compared Western diplomatic efforts to head off a Russian invasion of Ukraine to the appeasement of Nazi Germany ahead of World War II.

“It may be that he (Putin) just switches off his tanks and we all go home but there is a whiff of Munich in the air from some in the West,” Wallace said.

The 1938 Munich Agreement handed Nazi Germany the Sudetenland in western Czechoslovakia in a failed bid to avert major conflict in Europe.

Wallace is due in Brussels for a meeting of Nato defence ministers starting Wednesday to discuss the crisis.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014 after a popular revolt installed a pro-EU administration in Kiev.

It has also backed an insurgency across parts of the former Soviet republic’s Russian-speaking industrial east.

Moscow denies any intention to invade Ukraine but is pressing the US-led Nato alliance to pull its forces out of eastern Europe and pledge to never expand into Ukraine, demands Washington and other Western countries have rejected. — AFP