UK will support Ukraine and not be distracted by Russian threats
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said it is important not to be “distracted” by Russian threats and that she is determined to work with allies on a “Marshall Plan” to rebuild Ukraine.
Ms Truss was responding to a question in the House of Commons from Labour MP Graham Stringer about the “threat by Putin to use nuclear weapons” when she described the need not to be distracted or “put off our course by these threats from the Russian regime”.
Outlining a vision for longer-term support for Ukraine, she said that “looking to the future” when the war is over the UK would “continue to support a strong, sovereign Ukraine”.
And she said the UK is working on a joint commission with Poland to ensure Ukraine can defend itself in the “longer term”, including with Nato-standard weapons.
The Foreign Secretary said: “We will also help Ukraine to rebuild. I’m determined to work with the United States, with the EU and other partners, on a new Marshall Plan for the country.
“We need to see a landmark international effort to rebuild Ukraine’s towns and cities, regenerate their industries and secure their freedom. We will also ensure that Putin and his regime are held to account for their crimes in Ukraine.”
Asked by Mr Stringer about the “threat by Putin to use nuclear weapons”, Ms Truss said: “As to the threats being made by President Putin and his regime, they are making these threats because they are not succeeding in Ukraine.
“It’s very, very important that we focus on continuing to support the Ukrainians in their fight for their freedom and self-determination, and we’re not distracted and we’re not put off our course by these threats from the Russian regime.”
She also told MPs: “The reality is at present the Russians simply aren’t serious about negotiations, their claims of humanitarian corridors have proved to be false, they either lead to Russia or they have been appallingly booby trapped against the civilian population.”
She went on: “We stand with Finland and Sweden … We would very much support their application, it is obviously a sovereign decision for Finland and Sweden to make about joining Nato.”
Elsewhere during the debate on Ukraine in the Commons, Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke of the need to sustain the operation to push back the Russians and explained: “That won’t be achieved if we rely on ex-Soviet equipment, if we rely on the stocks that were left behind at the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain.
“What we need to do is we need look at a Finlandisation of Ukraine. We need to be assisting them in a full conversion of their military to a Nato standard that we can sustain because we have the weapons, we have the industry, we have the factories that can then supply them.”
Labour shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said: “What Ukraine needs now is no longer old spare weapons from the Soviet era but the new Nato weapons that Ukraine will need to prepare for Putin’s new fronts.
“We have to recognise that this war will now endure for months, possibly years, now is the time for long-term thinking about how European security must be strengthened.”
He reiterated Labour’s call for the Government to explore “a new UK-EU security pact”, and he also called for the Government to work with the United Nations to hold an “emergency global food summit” to address food supply and price issues around the world linked to the conflict.
Elsewhere in the debate, opposition MPs renewed their criticism of visa scheme for Ukrainians fleeing the war. Daisy Cooper, Liberal Democrat MP for St Albans, criticised the Homes for Ukraine scheme as being in an “utter mess”.Published: by Radio NewsHub