'The big dog is off the leash': John Sweeney's stark warning as Russia invades Ukraine

22 February 2022, 12:19 | Updated: 22 February 2022, 12:21

By Emma Soteriou

John Sweeney has told LBC that Russia is the 'big dog off the leash', after troops were ordered to enter the east of Ukraine.

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Speaking to LBC's James O'Brien, Mr Sweeney said: "This is bad. This is bad. What's happened is the big dog is off the leash and he's snarling at us.

"His troops and tanks haven't yet moved across out of the current ceasefire line so, for the moment, the situation is the same but basically the dog is off the leash.

"This is a war that's been 20-something years in the making."

The journalist went on to share that he "first saw what Putin was really like" in Chechnya at the very start of 2000, where he saw "serious evidence of war crimes by the Russian army".

He reflected on meeting a little girl, who he has since spoken to again in recent days as tensions continued to build.

She told him that people are "afraid to speak - we're afraid to breathe".

Read more: Boris pledges 'barrage of sanctions' against Russia after Putin sends troops into Ukraine

Read more: Oil prices hit seven-year high as Russia invades Ukraine threatening supplies

"Putin wants to do this to Ukraine and Ukraine is a rough old democracy - it's a bit rough, it's a bit wonky but it's a democracy," Mr Sweeney went on to say.

"It had two peaceful changes of Government properly by the ballot box.

"So the idea that this man can get away with this is wrong."

It comes as the UK has warned that a "barrage of sanctions" is on the way for Russia after it brought troops into the east of Ukraine.

Mr Putin said on Monday evening that two rebel regions in its neighbouring country would be recognised as independent states - accelerating the invasion.

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