Truss warned against playing into Putins hands with decision as Ukraine on brink

Ukraine: Deputy Defence Minister addresses possible invasion

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The Foreign Secretary has scheduled a trip to the Russian capital to meet with her Moscow counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. The Foreign Secretary’s visit to Russia would be the first by a UK official since 2017, when Boris Johnson met with Mr Lavrov.

However, Robert Jenrick, Conservative MP for Newark, has warned his fellow party member against the visit.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s The Westminster Hour programme, the former housing secretary said he is not sure Ms Truss’ visit is “wise”.

He said: “I’m not sure it is actually wise to go to Moscow.

“I think that honours Vladimir Putin and plays into his hand… I just question the good sense of going to Moscow and honouring Vladimir Putin at a time when he is so aggressive towards Ukraine.

“I’m not sure that’s wise.”

On Sunday, Ms Truss spoke to Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, about how “the depths” of Russia’s attempts to threaten to Ukraine were “clear”.

Mrs Truss missed a trip to Ukraine with the Prime Minister after testing positive for COVID-19.

In a Twitter post, she said: “The depths of Russian attempts to subvert and threaten Ukraine are clear.

“Russia’s actions show their claims to have no plans to invade are false.

“We and our allies stand united in support for Ukraine and our resolve to raise the cost to Russia if they take further action.”

The Foreign Secretary also said in another post Moscow “must cease its destabilising activities against Ukraine”, adding: “Any Russian incursion would be met with severe costs.”

It comes after Mr Johnson visited Ukraine on Tuesday, where he accused Russia of holding a gun to Ukraine’s head.

The Prime Minister spoke with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and warned of a “clear and imminent danger” of an attack by Russia and the prospect of “a European war, a fully-fledged war”.

Mr Johnson accused Putin of “trying to redraw the security map of Europe and to impose a new Yalta, new zones of influence”.

He then said: “It would not just be Ukraine that was brought back into the Russian zone of influence. It would be Georgia and Moldova and other countries.

“This is absolutely critical this moment.”

In response, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia will speak to any country, but blasted Mr Johnson as “utterly confused”.

He said: “It makes sense to speak to anybody. Russia and president Putin are open to communicating with everyone.

“Even to someone who is utterly confused, he is prepared to provide exhaustive explanations.”

Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, also attacked Ms Truss in a blog post.

She said: “Mrs Truss, your knowledge of history is nothing compared to your knowledge of geography.

“If anyone needs saving from anything, it’s the world, from the stupidity and ignorance of British politicians.”

It also comes after Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former Russian oligarch said the UK providing weapons and training to Ukrainian forces “shows to Putin that the war won’t be such an easy ride”.

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