Liz Truss has suggested Russia must pay reparations to Ukraine to help rebuild it when the war is over, using its oil and gas reserves to “recompense” the nation.
It came as the Prime Minister ordered a new review of Britain’s defence and security following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ms Truss will tell world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York that the UK faces a “decisive moment” and claim that, after 12 years of Tory rule, she is ready to lead a “new era”.
Speaking before her address, she demanded “recompense” for Ukraine from Moscow, drawing comparisons with the reparations Germany was forced to pay after the First World War.
“We need to make sure that there is proper recompense for what has happened in Ukraine and we need to make sure Russia is never again able to threaten counties on its border,” she said as she flew to the US.
“I’m proud the United Kingdom has stepped up our working with Kyiv to help them with their reconstruction. But I would expect that the Russian state, which has vast oil and gas reserves, should be contributing to rebuilding it.”
Speaking to Channel 5 News, she said: “It’s not just important that Ukraine prevails – it’s also important this never happens again.”
Ms Truss will order an update of the Integrated Review of defence, which was published in March last year. The review, unveiled by Boris Johnson, saw the size of the Army reduced by 9,500 and a third of Army ranks scrapped.
Prof John Bew, the Prime Minister’s special adviser on foreign affairs and defence, will lead a Downing Street process to update the review. The update is expected to be published by the end of this year.
In her speech to the UN General Assembly, Ms Truss will also repeat her pledge to increase defence spending from 2.12 per cent of GDP to three per cent by 2030.
She will urge allies to have the strong economic foundations needed to constrain authoritarianism, saying: “We will build resilience and collective security because they are vital for freedom and democracy.”