China could invade Taiwan after seeing the West’s response to Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, a leading historian has warned.
Professor of European studies at Oxford University Timothy Garton Ash said Xi Jinping taking over the island militarily would be a ‘worst case scenario’.
The political writer claimed the communist leader will be thinking: ‘If comrade Vladimir can get away with it in Ukraine, maybe I’ll have a go.’
He also warned Putin’s ‘minimal aim’ is to bring a new iron curtain down over eastern Europe because he wants to create a new empire.
Professor Garton Ash’s warnings came a day after Taiwan’s air force scrambled its fighter planes to warn away nine Chinese aircraft in its air defence zone.
At the same time Putin’s forces continued to sweep across Ukraine and had reached the outskirts of Kyiv by Friday morning.
Professor of European Studies at Oxford University Timothy Garton Ash said the Russian despot wants to create a new empire
The political writer claimed the communist leader will be thinking: ‘If comrade Vladimir can get away with it in Ukraine, maybe I’ll have a go’
Russian armour is now advancing on Kyiv from the north and east, with US intelligence saying the plan is to besiege the city, capture an airport, and fly in paratroopers who would then attack the capital. The aim would be to capture the government and force them to sign a peace treaty handing control of the country back to Russia or a Russian puppet
UKRAINE WAR: LATEST
- Ukraine says Russia has bombed 33 civilian sites in Kyiv in the last 24 hours
- Two children have been reported killed in Kyiv bombing overnight
- Ukraine has banned men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country to conscript them into armed forces
- Russia is deploying paratroopers to Chernobyl after capturing it yesterday, Moscow said
- Ukraine reported ‘anomalous’ radiation levels at the plant amid fears nuclear storage was breached in fighting, but Moscow said readings are normal
- Russia claims to have destroyed 118 Ukrainian military sites in 30 hours of fighting
Professor Garton Ash said the devastating conflict – which has already seen hundreds slaughtered – was just the beginning of Russia’s plans.
He told BBC Question Time last night: ‘He has effectively already invaded Belarus, which is just next to Ukraine.
‘Because he put all his forces in there and they’re there for as long as he wants them to be there.
‘So I think the minimal aim of Vladimir Putin is to create a new iron curtain down the Eastern frontier of NATO so that countries like Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia will be stuck in the Russian empire whether they like it or not.
‘The other point to make… and it was a point made to me by a very senior NATO general, is NATO and the EU have had a very close relationship with Ukraine for many years.
‘Someone once said Ukraine is not in NATO but NATO is in Ukraine, Ukraine is not in the EU but the EU is in Ukraine.
‘And what this general said to me was we have all sorts of non-alliance partners all over the world. Where is our credibility going to be with them.
‘And one of them is Taiwan. And of course if someone asks a worst case scenario is Xi Jinping thinks ”well if comrade Vladimir can get away with it in Ukraine, maybe I’ll have a go in Taiwan”.’
Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained of regular similar missions by the Chinese air force over the last two years, though the aircraft do not get close to Taiwan itself.
The number involved was well off the last large-scale incursion – 39 Chinese aircraft on January 23 – and such fly-bys have been sporadic with far fewer aircraft.
The ministry said the latest mission involved eight Chinese J-16 fighters and one Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft, which flew over an area to the northeast of Pratas Islands.
The political writer and commentator said the dictator had already ‘effectively invaded Belarus’ by stationing troops there
He also warned China was watching and may see it as a perfect chance to launch its long-feared seizure of Taiwan
Pictured: Flight paths of Chinese aircraft entering Taiwan airspace on Thursday afternoon
China, the US and Russia are engaged in a global arms race that now includes the development of hypersonic missile technology. Here, the MailOnline has compared (from left) each country’s main nuclear weapon, the latest hypersonic technology they have tested, their most up-to-date aircraft carriers, main battle tanks, and cutting-edge jets
Explosions sounded before dawn in Kyiv and gunfire was reported in the city centre as Western leaders scheduled an emergency meeting today.
Ukraine’s president pleaded for international help to fend off an attack that could topple his democratically elected government.
Among the signs the Ukrainian capital was increasingly threatened, the military said Friday a group of Russian spies and saboteurs was seen in a district of Kyiv.
Police told people not to exit a subway station in the city centre because there was gunfire in the area.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Kyiv ‘could well be under siege’ in what officials believe is a brazen attempt by Putin to install his own regime.
The assault, anticipated for weeks by the West, amounts to the largest ground war in Europe since the Second World War.
A huge explosion is seen at Vinnytsia military base, in central Ukraine, as the country comes under all-out attack by Russia
Natali Sevriukova, a resident of Kyiv, is pictured weeping on the streets of Kyiv after a Russian rocket strike destroyed the apartment block where she lives overnight
After repeatedly denying plans to invade, Russia launched a swift attack on the country from Thursday morning.
His grasp on power increasingly tenuous, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to global leaders for even more severe sanctions than the ones already imposed.
He said: ‘If you don’t help us now, if you fail to offer a powerful assistance to Ukraine, tomorrow the war will knock on your door.’
He also cut diplomatic ties with Moscow, declared martial law and ordered a full military mobilisation that would last 90 days.
The Iron Curtain was the name given to the military and political barrier that was drawn across Europe after the Second World War.
The Soviet Union shut off eastern countries such as Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania from the West as Joseph Stalin cracked down on the states.
It was lifted with the fall of the empire in 1991 but there are fears Putin is trying to revive it with his invasion yesterday.