Liz Truss tells Russia to dial down ‘Cold War rhetoric’ in Moscow meeting on Ukraine
British prime minister Boris Johnson has said that the Ukraine crisis is at its “most dangerous moment” and that intelligence on Russia’s troop movements on the Ukrainian border remains “grim”.
On a visit to Warsaw, Mr Johnson said that “Poland and the UK won’t accept a world in which a powerful neighbour can bully or attack their neighbours.”
His comments came after British foreign secretary Liz Truss held talks in Moscow with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
The pair conducted a testy press conference on Thursday, in which Mr Lavrov said speaking with Ms Truss was like a mute person talking to a deaf person. He added: “We appear to be listening but we’re not hearing anything.”
Ms Truss hit back at this characterisation, saying: “I certainly wasn’t mute in our discussions earlier, I put forward the UK’s point of view on the current situation as well as seeking to deter Russia from an invasion of Ukraine.”
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Polish prime minister calls on Germany to not be blackmailed over Russian gas
Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki has issued an appeal to Germany over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Russia.
Mr Morawiecki said: “As regards Nord Stream, I would like to appeal to our German allies: you have to announce, as soon as possible, that this gas pipeline should not be used as blackmail.”
He added: “When an imperial policy is a guiding principle, anything can become an instrument of aggression – it can be a gas pipeline, a migrant flow or the internet”.
Mr Morawiecki also thanked Boris Johnson for the UK’s support of Poland and accused Vladimir Putin of trying to “dismantle” the Nato alliance.
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Holly Bancroft10 February 2022 14:35
Boris Johnson: We stand shoulder to shoulder with Poland
Speaking on a trip to the Polish capital Warsaw, Boris Johnson said on Thursday that Britain would “stand shoulder to shoulder” with Poland.
At a joint appearance with Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Mr Johnson said: The lesson of the last 100 years is that when Poland is threatened with instability, war, aggression on the borders of Poland then we are all threatened and we are all affected.”
Holly Bancroft10 February 2022 14:13
Boris Johnson: Britain and Poland will not accept Russian bullying
Boris Johnson has said that Britain and Poland will not accept a world where a “powerful neighbour can bully or attack” others in issuing a warning to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Speaking on a trip to Warsaw, Mr Johnson said: “We need to work together now to achieve de-escalation, to persuade Vladimir Putin to de-escalate and to disengage.
“We won’t accept, Poland and the UK, won’t accept a world in which a powerful neighbour can bully or attack their neighbours.”
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Holly Bancroft10 February 2022 14:09
Talks fail as icy Lavrov calls Liz Truss ‘unprepared’
Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused Liz Truss of refusing to listen on Thursday in a testy press conference that ended in Mr Lavrov leaving Ms Truss standing alone at her podium.
“I’m honestly disappointed that what we have is a conversation between a dumb and a deaf person.. Our most detailed explanations fell on unprepared soil,” Sergei Lavrov told reporters.
He added: “They say Russia is waiting until the ground freezes like a stone so its tanks can easily cross into Ukrainian territory. I think the ground was like that today with our British colleagues, from which numerous facts that we produced bounced off.”
Ms Truss challenged Mr Lavrov’s assertions that Russia was not threatening anyone by building up its troops on the Ukrainian border.
She said: “I can’t see any other reason for having 100,000 troops station on the border, apart from to threaten Ukraine. And if Russia is serious about diplomacy, they need to remove those troops and desist from the threats.”
At the end of the conference, Mr Lavrov walked off without waiting for Ms Truss – leaving her standing alone at her podium.
Holly Bancroft10 February 2022 13:51
Banks warned to brace for Russian-sponsored cyber attacks by city watchdog
Banks have been told to brace for Russian-sponsored cyber attacks, according to a report in The Telegraph.
The Financial Conduct Authority wrote to chief executives of large lenders operating in the UK, telling them that the financial industry will be a likely target for the attacks.
The watchdog is worried that, if Britain imposes harsh sanctions on Russian companies and oligarchs, Russia might retaliate with sponsored cyber attacks.
A spokesperson for the FCA told the paper: “As you’d expect, we’re contacting firms to highlight the National Cyber Security Centre’s statement that organisations should bolster their cyber security resilience.”
Holly Bancroft10 February 2022 13:45
New Russia sanctions legislation to be enforced despite lack of scrutiny by MPs
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly has said new legislation to expand sanctions against Russia will come into force this afternoon – but opposition MPs say there has not been enough time to scrutinise the changes.
Mr Cleverly said the move would broaden the range of people and businesses the UK can sanction.
Labour argued the government’s approach was “autocratic”.
Laurie Churchman10 February 2022 13:30
Moscow may evacuate non-essential Kyiv embassy staff
Russia’s foreign minister says Moscow is considering whether to evacuate some of its embassy staff from Kyiv.
Sergei Lavrov said non-essential workers could be brought back because “Anglo-Saxons may be preparing something” in Ukraine.
Mr Lavrov and UK foreign secretary Liz Truss exchanged frosty words in talks earlier today.
The UK has already begun withdrawing some embassy staff from Kyiv.
Mr Lavrov said: “We are already wondering ourselves – maybe it is the Anglo-Saxons who are preparing something if they are evacuating their employees,” he said.
“We have looked at their actions and will probably also advise non-essential personnel of our diplomatic institutions to go home for a while.”
Laurie Churchman10 February 2022 13:12
New laws to toughen sanctions on Russia will be brought in ‘immediately’
Preparations that will allow the UK government to “toughen and expand” its sanctions against Russia will come into force this afternoon, a minister has said.
It comes as foreign secretary Liz Truss met with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, and the pair exchanged frosty words over rising tensions on the Ukrainian border.
Foreign office minister James Cleverly told the Commons: “As the foreign secretary set out on 31 January, we are now laying legislation to broaden the designation criteria for the Russia sanctions regime.
“As minister for Europe, I have signed that legislation which we will lay before parliament and intend to come into force this afternoon.
“We are toughening and expanding our sanctions regime in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. This legislation will significantly broaden the range of people, businesses and other entities that we can sanction in response to any further Russian aggression.”
Labour MP Chris Bryant said the minister was “wrong to say today that it’s just going to happen this afternoon”, and it was “autocratic” to publish legislation without opportunity for scrutiny.
He asked when there would be a debate on the floor to ensure the whole House sends the same message to Russia, saying “at the moment it just looks as if the government is not governing any more”.
Laurie Churchman10 February 2022 12:48
Boris Johnson’s woes follow him on diplomatic trip abroad
Boris Johnson wants the focus to be on the Russia-Ukraine crisis – but trouble back home is following him on his diplomatic trip abroad, the AP news agency reports.
On his visit to Belgium and Poland, the PM was trying to show NATO’s resolve in response to Russia massing troops near its neighbour’s borders.
But he faced questions about the police investigation into lockdown-breaking government parties – and a stinging attack from former Conservative Prime Minister John Major.
You can read the full story below.
Laurie Churchman10 February 2022 12:20
EU delivers collective reply to Russian security proposals
The European Union said on Thursday that it had delivered a single letter in response to Russia’s proposals to member states on European security on behalf of the 27 foreign ministers of the bloc.
The European Commission said that policy chief Josep Borrell decided to reply on behalf of all states to show unity. This is despite the Russian foreign minister Sergie Lavrov saying earlier on Thursday said a collective response from the EU would lead to a breakdown in talks.
EU diplomats told Reuters that the letters sent by Mr Lavrov were seen as a way to divide the countries within the European Union.
Holly Bancroft10 February 2022 11:59