Liz Truss: Kremlin says decision to put nuclear bases on high alert due to comments made by Foreign Secretary | What did she say about Ukraine crisis?

Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that he was putting Moscow’s nuclear forces on a “special regime of combat duty” in response to “aggressive statements” coming from Western powers.

“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading Nato members made aggressive statements regarding our country,”

Now according to reports from the BBC, The Kremlin have stated that such action was taken due to comments made by the Foreign Secretary.

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What has the Kremlin said about Liz Truss?

BBC handout photo of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, Sunday Morning. Issue date: Sunday February 27, 2022.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has claimed that Vladimir Putin placed nuclear deterrence forces on high alert after statements from Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

According to the Interfax news agency, Mr Peskov told a press briefing: “Statements were made by various representatives at various levels on possible altercations or even collisions and clashes between Nato and Russia.

“We believe that such statements are absolutely unacceptable.

“I would not call the authors of these statements by name, although it was the British foreign minister.”

What comments did Liz Truss make?

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Sunday that faced with the possible end of his regime, Mr Putin could resort to the “most unsavoury means” in Ukraine.

Asked on Sky News about Russia’s arsenal of chemical and tactical nuclear weapons, she said: “I urge the Russians not to escalate this conflict but we do need to be prepared for Russia to seek to use even worse weapons.”

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Following the co-ordinated announcement by the UK, US, EU and Canada late on Saturday that some Russian banks would be excluded from the Swift global payments system, Ms Truss said it was vital to maintain pressure on Moscow with more economic sanctions.

She said the Foreign Office was drawing up a “hit list” of Russian oligarchs who would be targeted with travel bans and asset freezes in the coming weeks.

She acknowledged there would be an “economic cost” to pay for sanctions but said it was essential that President Putin was stopped in Ukraine to avert future wars in Europe.

“If we don’t stop Putin in Ukraine we are going to see others under threat – the Baltics, Poland, Moldova, and it could end up in a conflict with Nato,” she said.

“Yes, there will be an economic cost here in Britain, there will be a cost in terms of access to oil and gas markets. I firmly believe that the British public understand the price we will pay if we don’t stand up to Putin now.”

What has been made of the claims?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Whatever political disagreements any of us have with Liz Truss – and I have many deep differences with her – we should not fall for this transparent Russian attempt to divert.

“The only person responsible for Putin’s despicable nuclear threat is Putin.”

Downing Street also said the comments from Mr Peskov were an attempt to distract from Russia’s difficulties in the Ukraine campaign.

“It remains the case that the rhetoric we are seeing from Putin’s regime is designed to distract from the situation on the ground, that is very much our focus,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

An ally of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has struck back at the Kremlin’s claims her remarks played a role in Vladimir Putin ordering Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert.

“Nothing Liz has said warrants that sort of escalation. It’s clearly designed to distract from the situation on the ground in Ukraine,” the ally said.

“The Foreign Secretary has always talked about Nato in the context of it being a defensive alliance. Her point is that we stand by Article 5, and that we must do everything we can to help Ukraine short of putting boots on the ground.

“We take it very seriously and want to keep the situation calm.”

New international legion formed in Ukraine: What is it?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced the formation of a new “international legion” to help defend his country and appealed to foreign volunteers to come forward, promising them arms to fight against the Russian troops.

Asked if she would support UK citizens who chose to answer the call, Foreign Secretary Ms Truss said: “That is something people can make their own decisions about.

“The people of Ukraine are fighting for freedom and democracy, not just for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe.