Liz Truss: UK will announce new sanctions against Russia

The UK will announce new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday “in response to their breach of international law and attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said.

It comes as the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin is ordering Russian forces to “maintain peace” in eastern Ukraine.

According to reports, the peacekeeping operation is in two regions which the Russian president earlier said he would recognise as breakaway republics.

Boris Johnson had said the decision from Mr Putin to recognise Donetsk and Luhansk was an “ill omen” and a flagrant breach of international law.

At a Downing Street press conference on Monday, he said: “This is plainly in breach of international law, it’s a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine.

“It is a repudiation of the Minsk process and the Minsk Agreements.

“I think it’s a very ill omen and a very dark sign.”

Mr Johnson said he would speak to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, “and offer him the support of the United Kingdom”.

Ms Truss tweeted about the new sanctions on Monday evening after saying Mr Putin’s actions could not be allowed to go “unpunished”.

Ukraine crisis
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said the UK will impose new sanctions on Russia (Rob Pinney/PA)

“Tomorrow we will be announcing new sanctions on Russia in response to their breach of international law and attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said.

The Foreign Secretary went on to say on Twitter that she spoke to Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, following “Russia’s latest assault on Ukrainian sovereignty”.

“We agreed (the UK) and (the EU) will coordinate to deliver swift sanctions against Putin’s regime and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine,” she said.

In addition, Ms Truss said she spoke to the Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, to give her “full support to Ukraine”, adding that the pair “discussed the sanctions (the) UK will be imposing on Russia together with our allies”.

Earlier, she said the recognition of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic as independent states “demonstrates Russia’s decision to choose a path of confrontation over dialogue”.

“We will co-ordinate our response with allies,” she said.

“We will not allow Russia’s violation of its international commitments to go unpunished.”

The European Union also announced it would impose sanctions in response to Russia’s recognition of the two states.

In a joint statement, European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and European Council president, Charles Michel, said it was an “illegal act”.

Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said: “This further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, erodes efforts towards a resolution of the conflict, and violates the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia is a party.”

The Commons heard on Monday evening that Mr Putin’s decision to recognise the two breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine had “dangerous parallels” to Nazi Germany’s actions prior to the Second World War.

Conservative MP, Sir Bill Cash, said: “This evening, Mr Putin has recognised the two separatist regions in Ukraine as independent states with dangerous parallels to Germany’s recognition of the Sudetenland in 1938.”

Sir Bill suggested a further statement to Parliament was required from the UK Government in response to changes in the Ukrainian situation.

Meanwhile, the PA news agency understands a Royal Navy destroyer that was due to deploy to the Mediterranean amid tensions with Russia has suffered a technical defect, delaying its departure.

HMS Diamond was due to leave its home base of Portsmouth on February 17, but its departure was initially delayed due to Storm Eunice.

The Type 45 destroyer has now experienced a small defect and is expected to leave on Wednesday, almost one week after it was intended to.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “HMS Diamond is continuing preparations for her planned operational tasking, in line with previous announcements, including undertaking a minor repair.”