Boris Johnson has said the West made a ‘terrible mistake’ by letting Vladimir Putin ‘get away’ with his invasion of Crimea in 2014.

The Prime Minister said Putin committed ‘an act of violent aggression’ and took a ‘huge chunk out of a sovereign country’ in his first invasion of Ukraine.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he said: ‘When Putin invaded Ukraine the first time round, in 2014, the West made a terrible mistake. The Russian leader had committed an act of violent aggression and taken a huge chunk out of a sovereign country – and we let him get away with it.’

His comments come as he is rumoured to be travelling to Saudi Arabia to ask for it to help bring down world oil prices despite outrage over the country’s execution of 81 men at the weekend.

But the PM insisted he was not giving up on net zero and that renewables were the ‘quickest and cheapest route’ to greater energy independence from Russia.

Of Putin’s dominance over energy supplies, he wrote: ‘He may have his hand on the taps for oil and gas. But there is nothing he can do to stop the North Sea wind

No 10 refused to confirm Mr Johnson’s trip yesterday but acknowledged he was expected to raise the issue with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The talks look set to be overshadowed by Saudi Arabia’s decision at the weekend to execute 81 men for a range of offences, some of which are said to have been committed when they were children.

Tory MP Julian Lewis, chairman of Parliament’s intelligence and security committee, warned that in trying to reduce dependency on Russian oil Britain could ‘end up creating a source dependency on another unreliable and sometimes hostile regime

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