Cleverly: UK will not be deflected by Kremlin ‘distraction’ tactics over Ukraine

Britain will not be deflected from supporting Ukraine by Russia’s attempts to “distract” from its failing invasion, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has said.

On Thursday, the UK ambassador to Moscow, Deborah Bronnert, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over alleged UK involvement in a drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet at the weekend.

In London, Andrey Kelin, the Russian ambassador to the UK, claimed British “specialists” had been involved in the “training, preparation and execution” of the raid, warning the UK was being drawn “too deep” into the conflict.

The Government has not commented directly on the charges, but speaking to the PA news agency from a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Germany, Mr Cleverly said such claims were designed to “distract” from Russian military setbacks.

“What they are trying to do is to distract the world – and probably the Russian people themselves – from the truth of the situation which is they are suffering setback after setback on the battlefield,” Mr Cleverly said.

“The Ukrainians have been defending themselves incredibly effectively.

“The UK won’t be distracted from our ongoing support to the Ukrainians in their defence of their homeland and the world shouldn’t be distracted from calling out Russia for its illegal invasion, for hampering grain exports from the Black Sea, for targeting civilian centres and critical national infrastructure.

“They want us to be talking about everything other than those things so we are going to be relentless in talking about the things we should be talking about.”

At the meeting in Munster, G7 ministers endorsed further sanctions against the Kremlin, including setting a price cap for Russian oil exports in the coming weeks.

They also pledged additional backing for Kyiv by creating a new mechanism to assist with its reconstruction and other countries affected by food and energy shortages the war has exacerbated.

“We will continue to impose economic costs on Russia and on other countries, individuals or entities providing military support for Moscow’s war of aggression,” the closing communique said.