Russia risks “massive consequences” if it invades Ukraine, Tory foreign secretary Liz Truss has warned.
Speaking at a Liverpool meeting of top officials from the G7 group of nations, Truss said there was “very much a united voice from the G7 nations who represent 50 percent of global GDP, being very clear that there will be massive consequences for Russia in the case of an incursion into Ukraine.”
It comes as Ukraine has been accusing Russia of gathering tens of thousands of soldiers for a potential large-scale military conflict as early as next year, which US intelligence estimates would involve up to 175,000 troops.
‘UK considering all options’
But Kremlin rejected claims that it is planning to invade Ukraine and accused Western countries of Russophobia.
Putin sees NATO’s expansion as a threat to Russia which goes against agreements made after the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991.
But Truss said the UK is considering all the options it has on responding to a Russian invasion of Ukraine, including economic sanctions.
She said: “When the UK has wanted to send clear messages and achieve clear goals we have been prepared to use economic sanctions.
“We are considering all options.”
Russia ‘unlikely’ to fear G7 countries
According to Reuters, the G7 officials all condemn Russia’s military presence at the Ukrainian border.
A statement drafted by the nations read: “Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost.
“We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future.”
But Al Jazeera correspondent Rory Challands doubts Russia will be influenced by G7 threats – a group of countries comprising the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States, as well as a EU representative.
He said: “The G7 is a loosely affiliated club. It is not something that can crank up or dial down pressure as a collective organisation.
Last month, Liz Truss urged Putin to intervene in Poland-Belarus conflict
“These foreign ministers will be going back to their respective countries and talking with their leaders about sanctions and punitive measures. But those [measures] will come from individual countries. Not from a strongly worded communique.”
Last month, Liz Truss urged Putin to intervene in the “shameful manufactured migrant crisis” unfolding at the Belarusian border.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, she said Russia has a “clear responsibility” to end the rising migrant crisis, and warned the UK “will not look away”.
A big number of migrants were present at a Belarusian border camp at the time, and Poland was reporting daily attempts by migrants to cross the border.
The government of Belarus said the migrant situation did not justify Poland’s “unprecedented” military presence at the border, which involved 15,000 troops backed by tanks, air defence assets and other weapons.
Meanwhile, Truss asked Kremlin to intervene in the crisis, writing: “Russia has a clear responsibility here. It must press the Belarusian authorities to end the crisis and enter into dialogue.”