Truss: Responding strongly to Kremlin now will deter future aggression

Liz Truss spoke to her Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday.

02 February 2022

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has stressed the UK’s “unwavering” support for Ukraine as US President Joe Biden is set to send troops into European countries to support the former Soviet state.

Ms Truss, who was due to travel to Kyiv with Boris Johnson on Tuesday before testing positive for coronavirus, spoke to her Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday.

Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and Ms Truss agreed “responding decisively and strongly to the Kremlin now will help deter future as well as present Russian aggression”, a Foreign Office spokesperson said.

They said: “Both agreed that European and Nato allies need to present a robust and united front to Russia.”

Ms Truss also confirmed she would travel to Moscow “shortly” in a bid to quell tensions.

No 10 insisted “our strong preference remains that Vladimir Putin pursues diplomatic efforts” to dial down threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty.

But the Prime Minister has warned there were no signs that the Kremlin was looking to de-escalate the situation.

Mr Putin has said he does not intend to order an invasion, but there are more than 100,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s eastern border, backed by tanks, artillery, helicopters and warplanes.

While a senior US official confirmed the country is sending about 2,000 troops to Poland and Germany this week and roughly 1,000 more who are already based in Germany will go to Romania.

In the UK, Downing Street said it has a package of sanctions ready that will “severely” hurt Russia’s economy should Moscow order troops across the Ukrainian border.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “We don’t preview what the sanctions package might be.

“I think the Prime Minister was very clear yesterday about the automaticity of our sanctions package that we have ready to go.

“It will severely damage the economy of Russia and, as the Foreign Secretary made clear, be targeted as well at the Russian elite, but beyond that I’m not going into it.”

The No 10 spokesman added: “We do have a package of sanctions ready, we’ve been working on that with our Nato allies, so we have both discussions with Nato allies and we have our own approach as well.

“So, we are ready to act but, vitally, it is important our strong preference remains that Vladimir Putin pursues diplomatic efforts.”

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