Ukraine invasion has shattered beliefs about security ‘on scale of 9/11’, Liz Truss to warn
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shattered the world’s assumptions about threats to peace on a scale not seen since the 9/11 Al-Qaeda attacks, Liz Truss will warn.
On a visit to the US, the foreign secretary will call Vladimir Putin’s attack “a paradigm shift” – calling on leaders to pledge they will “never again allow such aggression to grow unchecked”.
Describing it as the end of “the era of complacency”, Ms Truss will argue the world’s response will “set the pattern” for a new age, determining whether other threats will materialise.
“If we let Putin’s expansionism go unchallenged, it would send a dangerous message to would-be aggressors and authoritarians around the world. We can’t allow that to happen,” she will say.
The speech will come after Ms Truss argued ordinary Russians are now feeling the day-to-day consequences of the invasion as McDonald’s and Starbucks shut their shops.
Speaking in Washington, the foreign secretary hailed the “huge action from the private sector” – which, unlike his censorship of the media, Putin is unable to hide from his citizens.
“We’ve seen huge action from the private sector, whether it’s McDonald’s or other companies,” the foreign secretary told a press conference.
The Russian people “will be seeing now – by the fact that shops are closing, they’re not able to get the goods that they were able to get – exactly the implications that Putin’s aggression in Ukraine is having for Russia,” she said.
Delivering a lecture at the Atlantic Council think tank, in Washington DC, Ms Truss will set out a three-point plan to:
* End strategic dependence on hostile and authoritarian states, including on Russian energy.
* Strengthen deterrence by spending more on defence and by strengthening the Nato alliance.
* Build stronger alliances with both allies and with countries not historically aligned to the UK, focusing on trade, investment and security.
She will say: “We must rise to this moment. We must pledge that never again will we allow such aggression to grow unchecked.
“That means acting now. It means being tough – because we know that the costs will only rise if we don’t. The public understand the gravity of this moment.”
The foreign secretary will argue Putin’s invasion is an assault on “the very foundation of our societies and the rules by which we coexist – sovereignty, democracy, the UN Charter”.
“He has shattered the architecture of global security. The invasion of Ukraine is a paradigm shift on the scale of 9/11,” Ms Truss will say.
She will also repeat Boris Johnson’s call for the world to “go further on sanctions to keep tightening the vice” on the Russian president.
That should include “a full ban” from the Swift international payments system and “freezing all Russian banking assets”.
“We want a situation where they can’t access their funds, they can’t clear their payments, their trade can’t flow, their ships can’t dock and their planes can’t land,” Ms Truss will say.
Ms Truss, who on Wednesday met US secretary of state Antony Blinken, is scheduled to argue that Mr Putin has “launched a full-frontal assault” not just on Ukraine but “on the very foundation of our societies and the rules by which we co-exist”.
“The reality is that setting up a no-fly zone would lead to a direct confrontation between Nato and Russia, and that is not what we’re looking at,” she told a joint news conference with Mr Blinken. “What we’re looking at is making sure that the Ukrainians are able to defend their open country with the best possible selection of anti-tank weapons and anti-air defence systems.”
Mr Blinken said US involvement in a no-fly zone could “prolong” the conflict, making it “even deadlier”. “Our goal is to end the war, not to expand it, including potentially expanding it to Nato territory,” he said.
“We want to make sure it is not prolonged, to the best of our ability. Otherwise, it is going to turn even deadlier, involve more people and I think potentially even make things harder to resolve in Ukraine itself.”