Britain and the US have warned Moscow will face “serious consequences” if it invades Ukraine – amid “deep concern” over tens of thousands of Russian troops gathering at the border.
Secretary of State Liz Truss and her U.S. counterpart, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, agreed that Russia should be sanctioned if it tries to take control of its neighbors in talks ahead of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Saturday.
The Kremlin has around 70,000 soldiers stationed near its border with Ukraine and, according to US intelligence services, is planning a possible invasion as early as the beginning of next year.
It comes when President Joe Biden warned that Russia “will pay a terrible price” if it starts a takeover.
Speaking at a press conference at the White House on Saturday, Mr. Biden said, âHere is the deal. I made it absolutely clear to President Putin … that the economic consequences for his economy will be devastating if he pushes Ukraine forward. “
Mr Biden held two crisis talks this week with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the leaders of Germany, France and Italy, known as the “quint of NATO”, to decide how to tackle the threat.
Ms. Truss and Mr. Blinken “both agreed to their support for Ukraine” and “expressed deep concern about the build-up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border,” said a spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
“They also said that any invasion by Russia would be a strategic mistake with grave consequences.
“Foreign Minister and Foreign Minister Blinken agreed that it is important to defend and promote freedom and democracy, and that this requires a common goal of the G7,” added the spokesman.
Truss also discussed with the new German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock how important it is to “withstand autocratic regimes that threaten the free world” and to unite in view of the threat to Ukraine from Moscow.
On the basis of President Biden, she vowed that there would be “serious economic consequences” if the Kremlin mobilized against Kiev.
The Foreign Minister also called on allies from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan to “defend themselves against the growing threats posed by enemy actors”.
Truss opened the general assembly as part of the one-year British G7 presidency and urged the diplomats: âWe must unite strongly to confront aggressors who try to restrict the limits of freedom and democracy.
“To do this, we need a strong common voice, we have to work to expand our economic and security partnerships around the world and to bring more into the realm of countries that stand up for the values ââwe believe in.”
Ms. Truss also spoke of âgrowing economic tiesâ to ensure that âall nations have alternatives to dealing with authoritarian regimesâ.
She is also expected to hold bilateral talks with other G7 partners and the EU, along with Australia and South Korea.
Tonight, the Secretary of State was due to welcome senior members of the Seven Nations Group to a working lunch at the Beatles Story Museum – as she unveiled her vision for a “global network of freedom”.
Ms. Truss hopes the UK can forge closer economic, technological and security ties with allies and pull more nations “into orbit” of free-market democracies.
The gathering comes days after Britain’s new chief of armed forces, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, described the buildup on the Ukrainian border as “deeply worrying”.
He warned that a Russian invasion would be on a scale “not seen in Europe since World War II”.