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Britain warns Russia over Ukraine: we’re working on high-impact sanctions

Russia has massed some 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border
and though Moscow says it has no plans to invade its neighbour, President
Vladimir Putin has demanded legally-binding guarantees that NATO will not
expand further eastwards.

“We will not accept the campaign Russia is waging to
subvert its democratic neighbours,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told
parliament. “They have falsely cast Ukraine as a threat to justify their
aggressive stance.”

“Russia is the aggressor here,” Truss said.
“NATO has always been a defencive alliance.”

Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from
Ukraine in 2014, drawing sanctions and condemnation from the West. Kyiv wants
the territory back.

Truss said that any further military incursion into Ukraine
by Russia would bring “massive consequences, including coordinated
sanctions to impose a severe cost on Russia’s interests and economy.”

“The UK is working with our partners on these
sanctions, including high impact measures targeting the Russian financial
sector and individuals,” Truss said.

Putin says NATO’s expansion eastwards since the 1991 fall of
the Soviet Union is a threat to Russia which, he says, has nowhere left to
retreat to. He has warned the West against ignoring his concerns.

Truss said she would visit Kyiv later this month and that
the situation was reaching a crucial moment with only one way forward: for
Putin to step back from the brink.

“It’s vital that NATO is united in pushing back against
Russia threatening behaviour,” Truss said.

Britain, Truss said, was opposed to the Nord Stream 2
pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

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“Europe must reduce its dependence on Russian
gas,” Truss said. “Britain remains opposed to Nord Stream 2 and I’m
working with allies and partners to highlight the strategic risks of this
project.”

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