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U.K. Foreign Secretary Announces Kyiv Visit, Says Russia's Only Path Forward Is De-Escalation With Ukraine

U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (file photo)
U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (file photo)

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has announced a visit to Kyiv later this month to stress London's "unwavering" commitment to Ukraine amid continuing Russian aggression against its fellow post-Soviet neighbor.

In remarks to Parliament on January 6, Truss called Ukraine a crucial priority and warned against any concessions to Russia, which has reportedly amassed tens of thousands of troops near its western border seven years into a conflict in nearby eastern Ukraine between pro-Kyiv forces and Russia-backed separatists.

Russia is the aggressor with respect to Ukraine, she said, and should end its malign activity.

"Any further military incursion into Ukraine would bring massive consequences, including coordinated sanctions to impose a severe cost on Russia's interests and economy," Truss said, echoing previous warnings by Western officials. "The U.K. is working with our partners on these sanctions, including high impact measures targeting the Russian financial sector and individuals."

After a conversation with Truss earlier this week, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba's office said Kyiv and its allies were making progress on a comprehensive deterrence package targeting Russia.

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Britain, the European Union, and the United States have already imposed multiple rounds of sanctions against Moscow since its forcible annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and the start of the separatist conflict in 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said after a meeting in Washington on January 5 that Russia's military buildup was an "immediate and urgent challenge.”

Talks between U.S. and Russian officials are scheduled for January 9-10 in Geneva and the NATO-Russia Council should meet on January 12.

Russian officials have denied participating in the Ukrainian conflict despite evidence of active troop, weapons, and other involvement.

Moscow has accused the United States and other Western governments of increasingly threatening behavior in the Black Sea and other regions around Ukraine, and said its troop movements are an internal matter.

Truss didn't immediately say when she will travel to Kyiv, where Ukraine's leaders have pleaded for greater political and material assistance to rebuff the Russian threat.

She said there's no justification for Russia's "bellicose" stance and the only way forward is for Russia to de-escalate.

Britain won't accept Russia's campaign of subverting democratic neighbors, Truss said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has also expressed major fears over the effect of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which has had German support and will allow Russia to bypass longtime transit partner Ukraine via the Baltic Sea.

Britain opposes Nord Stream 2, Truss said, "and I'm working with allies and partners to highlight the strategic risks of this project."

"Europe must reduce its dependence on Russian gas," Truss added.

With reporting by Reuters
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