Liz Truss has called for a return to Cold War era diplomacy, declaring the “age of engagement with Russia is over” and that an agreement in which Nato and Moscow “do not consider each other as adversaries” is dead.
The foreign secretary made the remarks at a dinner with counterparts in Brussels, hours after Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the war in Ukraine could be “a long haul” with Vladimir Putin still attempting on taking control of the whole of Ukraine.
“The age of engagement with Russia is over,” she said. “We need a new approach to security in Europe based on resilience, defense and deterrence. There is no time for false comfort. Russia is not retreating, but regrouping and repositioning to push harder in the east and south of Ukraine.”
It is anticipated that Ms Truss will put pressure on her Nato counterparts to continue supplying Ukraine’s forces with weapons, alongside fortifying sanctions on Moscow.
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It comes as Britain and the United States announced a new round of sanctions, including an asset freeze on Sberbank, an end to all new investment in Russia and personal sanctions on Putin’s two adult daughters.
At the Nato meeting, Ms Truss was also expected to call for more support for countries such as Georgia, Moldova, Sweden, and Finland.
She was also expected to say the Nato-Russia Founding Act, in which it was declared the two sides “do not consider each other as adversaries”, is dead.
The agreement, signed in 1997, aimed to increase security and stability.
Earlier, Boris Johnson described the actions of Putin’s forces in Bucha, near Kyiv, as not looking “far short of genocide”.
He said: “I’m afraid when you look at what’s happening in Bucha, the revelations that we are seeing from what Putin has done in Ukraine doesn’t look far short of genocide to me.”
“It is no wonder people are responding in the way that they are,” he added.
Mr Stoltenberg saidL “We have all seen the atrocities that have been committed in Bucha and other places in Ukraine. This reveals the true nature of President Putin’s war. Any targeting and killing of civilians is a war crime and therefore Nato allies are supporting international efforts to establish all the facts, to investigate and to make sure that perpetrators are punished.”
He added: “We have seen no indication that President Putin has changed his ambition to control the whole of Ukraine and also to rewrite the international order so we need to be prepared for a long haul.”
Earlier, Ukrainian officials said they had found the bodies of at least 410 civilians, some reported shot with their hands tied behind their backs.
Western officials warned such atrocities may be “widespread” pointing to the “toxic information climate” in Russia with calls for the “de-nazification” of Ukraine, with former president Dmitri Medvedev, still a close ally of Mr Putin likening it to the Third Reich.
“When you combine that with a force which is failing and failing badly in an operation for which it was perhaps psychologically underprepared, it just a toxic mix,” one official said.
“The responsibility for this lies with the perpetrators of the acts but it also lies with the Russian leadership. Not only did they order the invasion, they set the tone and the context for this operation as well.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.