'See This Through': Truss Urges Ukraine and NATO Not to 'Appease' Russia
16:16 GMT 26.05.2022 (Updated: 15:19 GMT 28.05.2023)
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said NATO and European Union nations must push on with their plan to "weaken" Russia using the Kiev regime of Volodymyr Zelensky as a military proxy.
Britain's foreign secretary has denounced calls for Ukraine to strike a peace deal with Russia as "backsliding" and "appeasement".
Liz Truss made her comments in a widely-trailed speech to the Bosnia and Herzegovina armed forces in Sarajevo’s Army Hall on Thursday.
That was mere days after former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that Kiev should agree to Moscow's demands that give up its claims to Crimea and the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, along with its ambitions to join US-led alliance NATO, for the sake of peace.
"Russia’s aggression cannot be appeased. It must be met with strength," Truss said in apparent response to Kissinger. "We must not allow a prolonged and increasingly painful conflict to develop in Ukraine."
Personifying nuclear superpower Russia in President Vladimir Putin, she insisted Ukraine could still win after three months of defeats at the hands of Russian and Donbass forces.
"We must be relentless in ensuring Ukraine prevails through military aid and sanctions," Truss urged. "We can’t take our foot off the accelerator now."
"Now it is about digging deep, not backsliding. We must all learn the lessons of history. Democracy and freedom must prevail over autocratic aggression," the foreign secretary continued.
"We must see this through, not back away in Ukraine’s hour of need because we would rather none of this was happening," Truss said. "Putin must lose in Ukraine. Putin’s aggression must never succeed in Europe."
Truss also accused Russia of "essentially weaponising hunger and lack of food among the poorest people around the world," adding: "That is trying to hold the world to ransom, and it must not succeed."
On Tuesday, Truss appeared to back a proposal by her Lithuanian counterpart Gabrielius Landsbergis to send a naval flotilla to break the alleged Russian "blockade" of the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa, on the pretext of freeing up tens of millions of tons of Ukrainian wheat exports amid a looming global shortage.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov scotched those allegations on Thursday, blaming Western sanctions for holding up shipments.
Analysts and commentators have pointed out that Kiev still able to export 1.5 million tons of grain per month through neighbouring Romania despite the ongoing conflict, with potential to increase that flow.
They also argue that Western sanctions on Moscow are the cause of rising bread prices, since Russia produces 18-19 per cent of global wheat exports, compared to the Ukraine's 8-9 per cent. Russia is also expecting a bumper harvest this year, while the Ukraine is facing poor crop yields.
Kiev ordered the waters around Odessa to be mined shortly after Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February. Several of the aged mines have broken their mooring cables, posing a hazard for civilian and military shipping alike and washing up on the coasts of neighbouring countries.
Facts on the Ground
The British foreign secretary's rallying cry to Kiev to fight on is badly timed.
The military situation has deteriorated seriously for the Ukrainian armed forces since the surrender of some 2,500 Azov Battalion neo-Nazis and regular troops in the city of Mariupol earlier this month.
Russian and allied forces smashed through the Ukrainian front line in Donbass last week when they captured the town of Popasnaya, and are now poised to encircle an estimated 10,000-15,000 men in the twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.
Other breakthroughs to the south and west threaten the disintegration of the entire eastern front line the Kiev regime spent eight years fortifying.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian air force and navy have been almost completely wiped out, while daily briefings by the Russian Ministry of Defence indicate the army has lost around 90 percent of its heavy equipment — even when "lethal aid" from NATO countries is factored in.
Prisoners of war taken by the Russian forces include more and more middle-aged men and teenage boys from territorial defence militia units, who complain of inadequate and defective weapons, short or no pay and of officers deserting them to be killed as cannon fodder.
Truss will travel on to the Czech capital of Prague, where she will praise Prime Minister Petr Fiala's government for pouring almost 100 armoured vehicles along with self-propelled artillery pieces into the Ukraine conflict.