UK sanctions plans disclosed
London does not want to impose sanctions on Russia but will have no choice if the Kremlin decides to invade Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Moscow daily RBK on Thursday.
Speaking after negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Truss made sure to hammer home her view that a war between Russia and Ukraine would be damaging to the populations of both countries, as well as to broader European security.
The foreign secretary warned against a military incursion, reminding Lavrov this would result in a “high price” to pay in terms of sanctions.
“We do not want this. We do not want to impose sanctions. We would prefer to have a good relationship with Russia,” Truss told RBK, explaining that she would rather have a diplomatic course of action where Russia and NATO members negotiated directly, insisting that an invasion would leave Britain with no choice but to implement measures against Russia, which would target key industries and individuals such as President Vladimir Putin.
Lavrov has repeatedly denied Russia has any intention of invading Ukraine, and he described Thursday’s exchange with Truss as “the mute talking to the deaf,” claiming the British foreign secretary ignored his explanations.
Truss’ main goal for the encounter with Lavrov, she explained in the interview with RBK, had been to push Russia to withdraw the alleged 100,000 troops it has amassed on the Ukraine border, in an attempt to de-escalate rapidly rising tensions in eastern Europe.
In response to Lavrov’s declaration during the press conference that these troops posed no threat, Truss claimed that there would be “no other reason” to station so many soldiers near Ukraine.
“If Russia is serious about diplomacy, they need to remove those troops and desist from the threats,” she said, according to British newspaper The Guardian.