Russia sanctions could be eased with peace, guarantees: UK's Truss

Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss leaves after attending the weekly Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, in London, on March 23, 2022.

London, United Kingdom | British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Saturday that UK sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine could be lifted if Moscow committed to a full ceasefire and withdrew its troops.

In a wide-ranging newspaper interview, Truss said the Kremlin must also agree to "no further aggression" towards Ukraine for the British sanctions imposed on hundreds of people and entities to remain eased.

In concert with Western allies, London has sanctioned more than 1,000 Russian and Belarusian individuals and businesses in recent weeks, with the latest round of targets announced just two days ago.

"Sanctions should only come off with a full ceasefire and withdrawal, but also commitments that there will be no further aggression," Truss told the Sunday Telegraph.

"And also, there's the opportunity to have snapback sanctions if there is further aggression in future."

Britain's top diplomat noted Russia had signed up to multiple agreements that they had failed to comply with subsequently, "so there needs to be hard levers" in dealing with it.

"Of course, sanctions are a hard lever. That is a real lever that I think can be used," she added.

The comments echo recent remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the wide-ranging penalties against Russia are "not designed to be permanent" and could "go away" if Moscow changes its behaviour.

However, they come as diplomatic tensions with the Kremlin grow ever higher over the month-old war in Ukraine.

On Saturday, US President Joe Biden branded Russian leader Vladimir Putin "a butcher" who "cannot remain in power".

In her interview, Truss also revealed she has set up a specialist negotiations unit with her foreign ministry to aid Ukraine in peace talks with Russia.

However, she cautioned it would only be useful "when the Russians are serious about negotiations.

"I don't believe they are serious at present and that's why I've said we need to be tough to get peace," Truss added.

She noted in the meantime that Britain and other allies needed to "double down on sanctions" and "double down on the weapons that we're sending to Ukraine".

© Agence France-Presse

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