'Fighting for freedom has a high cost': Liz Truss warns Russia sanctions will worsen cost of living crisis

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - FEBRUARY 21: Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations Maros Sefcovic (not seen) welcomes British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss prior to an EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee in Brussels on February 21, 2022. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Liz Truss said 'fighting for freedom has a very high cost for us'. (Getty Images)

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has warned sanctions on Russia will further worsen the UK's cost of living crisis.

Truss said "fighting for freedom" amid the Ukraine crisis "has a very high cost for us".

A number of sanctions have been imposed on Russia, including moves across Europe to reduce dependency on its oil and gas.

And while the UK is less reliant on Russian energy than other European countries – imports from Russia made up only 4% of the UK's gas supply last year – continent-wide sanctions will likely drive up prices here as part of a knock-on effect.

Watch: Gas, oil and tech – how Russia's invasion will impact the UK

This comes as Britons had already been bracing for a steep hike in energy bills amid a record increase in global gas prices. Inflation, meanwhile, rose 5.5% in the 12 months to January.

After listing the various sanctions Russia is facing on BBC's Sunday Morning, Truss was told by presenter Sophie Raworth to "just be honest" about how sanctions will cause the cost of living to rise even more.

"That is correct," Truss said.

"But the pain that we will face in the UK is nothing like the pain that people in Ukraine are currently facing. They are having to take up arms in the face of an appalling dictator."

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 8, 2020: Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a ceremony to launch the TurkStream gas pipeline at the Halic Congress Center. Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS (Photo by Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images)
Truss said 'the alternative of allowing Vladimir Putin to succeed will be far worse for peace and democracy across Europe'. (Getty Images)

She added: "We aren't just fighting for the people of Ukraine, and the sovereignty of Ukraine, we're fighting for freedom and democracy – and that has a very high cost for us.

"It is right we are prepared to take an economic hit because the alternative of allowing [Vladimir] Putin to succeed will be far worse for peace and democracy across Europe."

Read more:
Why Russia invading Ukraine could increase your energy bills (from 15 February)
Liz Truss supports Brits going to Ukraine to fight as she warns conflict could last 'years'

Meanwhile, Truss said the UK government is drawing up a "hit list" of Russian oligarchs associated with Putin to be targeted with separate sanctions.

“We will go through the hit list. We will be targeting oligarchs' private jets, we will be targeting their properties, we will be targeting other possessions that they have and there will be nowhere to hide."

Putin later put Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent forces on alert, dramatically ratcheting up the tensions in his stand-off with the West over his invasion of Ukraine.

Russian television footage showed Putin meeting with his defence minister and the chief of the general staff, and instructing them to put the nuclear deterrent on a “special regime of combat duty”.

He cited “aggressive statements” coming from Western powers and hard-hitting economic sanctions as reasons for the action.

“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading Nato members made aggressive statements regarding our country,” he said.