BORIS Johnson has been mocked by a leading pro-Kremlin politician for dispatching two warships to the Black Sea.
The move showed Britain suffering from "post-imperial complexes", claimed Russian senator Aleksey Pushkov.
The Royal Navy is to send the warships next month to show "unwavering" backing for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity as Vladimir Putin masses up to 100,000 troops and heavy armaments close to its frontier with its ex-Soviet neighbour.
Mr Pushkov, a professor of international relations and former chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said: "The British are skeptical about Prime Minister Boris Johnson's attempts to support Ukraine against Russia,’
"Most British remember that previous military interventions cost the country a lot of lives and money.
"So Johnson would be better off saving on sending two warships to the Black Sea ‘in support of Ukraine’. The case is useless."
This unnecessary display of British post-imperial complexes can be dispensed with
Mr Pushkov said: "He will not support it in any way — two ships solve nothing.
"This unnecessary display of British post-imperial complexes can be dispensed with.
"And with saved money (he can) buy the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia in order to save hundreds of thousands of British residents from disease."
Britain is to deploy a Type 45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles and an anti-submarine Type 23 frigate to the Black Sea.
RAF F-35B Lightning stealth jets and Merlin submarine-hunting helicopters will stand ready on the Mediterranean task group's flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to support the warships.
The deployment is aimed at showing solidarity with Ukraine.
"The UK and our international allies are unwavering in our support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity", said an MoD spokesman.
Pushkov spoke as latest videos appear to show Putin’s relentless swelling over firepower is continuing.
In the past two weeks, a vast land, naval and air arsenal has been put in place, sparking fears that Russia could grab more land in Ukraine following the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
More than 14,000 people have died in hostilities since then.
Ukraine’s foreign minister Yevhen Yenin claimed accusations of espionage against the country’s consul in St Petersburg, Oleksandr Sosonyuk, were a sting operation by the Russian FSB security service.
Sosonyuk was held by FSB agents after receiving a portable hard drive "classified" database in a restaurant from an unidentified person he met in a cafe or restaurant for red wine.
Allegedly, he had sought “classified’ information on Russian citizens for the black market.
But Yenin claimed to throw new light on the incident, saying: "A person called our consul and asked for a personal meeting over coffee."
When they met the man got out "some incomprehensible disks" from his bag.
"After that, our consul only managed to say: ‘Stop this provocation’. And then he was detained."
The database was anyway public in Russia, he said.
"And for a very modest fee you can get all personal information regarding any citizen of the Russian Federation."
He claimed Sosonyuk’s expulsion from Russia was a stunt intended to detract attention from Moscow diplomats being thrown out of the US and Czech republic.
Ukraine has responded by expelling an envoy from Russia’s embassy in Kyiv.
New footage from the "propaganda" media empire RT appears to show more troops joining a potential strike force
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