The Foreign Secretary will demand more weapons for Kyiv and tell Western allies not to ‘take our foot off the accelerator’
By James Crisp, EUROPE EDITOR. 25 May 2022
Liz Truss will on Thursday warn against appeasing Vladimir Putin and tell Western allies there can be no backsliding in ensuring Russia is defeated in its war against Ukraine.
The Foreign Secretary will demand more weapons for Kyiv and more sanctions against Moscow in a speech to Bosnia and Herzegovina armed forces in Sarajevo’s Army Hall.
“Russia’s aggression cannot be appeased. It must be met with strength,” Ms Truss will say, “We must not allow a prolonged and increasingly painful conflict to develop in Ukraine.”
She will say the West must “learn the lessons of history” after Russia’s president had pocketed concessions before his invasions of Georgia, the Crimea and Donbas.
Ms Truss will say: “We must be relentless in ensuring Ukraine prevails through military aid and sanctions. We can’t take our foot off the accelerator now.”
The rallying call comes amid crumbling unity among EU members over an oil embargo against Moscow and whether to call for peace talks and a ceasefire.
On Wednesday, Volodymyr Zelensky attacked the West for its lack of unity, singled out Hungary for blocking the EU oil embargo, and asked for more heavy weapons. Ukraine’s foreign minister accused Nato of doing “literally nothing” to counter Russia.
“Unity is about weapons. My question is, is there this unity in practice? I can’t see it. Our huge advantage over Russia would be when we are truly united,” Mr Zelensky said.
Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of State, said on Tuesday that Ukraine should give up territory to Putin to secure a peace deal after an opinion piece in the New York Times caused controversy by arguing that Kyiv should cede land to Moscow.
Ukraine said earlier this month it would never concede territory to Moscow after Volodymyr Zelensky said Emmanuel Macron had asked him to make concessions to help Putin save face.
Ms Truss will declare Bosnia and Herzegovina’s future lies in “closer partnership” with Britain and Nato rather than with Russia.
She will say the UK is committed to countering malign Russian influence in the Western Balkans and announce £80 million of UK-backed investment in the region by 2025.
On Friday, she will visit the Czech Republic and praise Prague for its tough stance on Russia and for supplying tanks to Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Moscow told the West to lift its sanctions to stave off a global food crisis caused by a war between two countries that together produce nearly a third of the world’s wheat.
Estonia’s prime minister on Wednesday warned against showing Putin any weakness. “We must avoid a bad peace, a badly negotiated peace for Ukraine would mean a bad peace for us all,” Kaja Kallas said.
“It is much more dangerous giving in to Putin, than provoking him. All these seemingly small concessions to the aggressor lead to big wars.”
The EU has so far failed to agree to new sanctionson Russia, which requires the unanimous support of all 27 members, before next week’s European Council.
Italy, Cyprus and Hungary urged the EU to call explicitly for a ceasefire and peace talks at the summit, which puts them at odds with states such as Poland and the Baltic countries.
At a meeting of EU envoys on Friday, Italy’s ambassador proposed changes to the draft summit conclusions to call for an immediate ceasefire.
Mr Macron, who says Kyiv would negotiate on its own terms in any peace talks, and Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor have both previously called for a ceasefire.
The conclusions currently state the EU is “unwavering in its commitment to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence against the Russian aggression” and makes no reference to peace talks.