The UK could lift its set of crippling economic sanctions on Russia if Vladimir Putin withdraws his troops from Ukraine and promises to commit “no further aggression”, foreign secretary Liz Truss has said.
Truss said last night that an “off ramp” could be offered to Putin if he stops his invasion of Ukraine, but that “snapback sanctions” would be applied on Russia if it relaunches a military offensive.
The UK, EU and US have coordinated a wide range of economic sanctions that have seriously damaged the Russian economy and led to many western companies abandoning the country.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs earlier this month predicted that Russia’s economy would shrink by at least seven per cent this year as a result of the sanctions.
Truss’s comments in The Telegraph today are the first suggestion by the UK government that it could reverse its set of sanctions against Russia.
She said: “What we know is that Russia signed up to multiple agreements they simply don’t comply with. So there needs to be hard levers. Of course, sanctions are a hard lever.
“Those sanctions should only come off with a full ceasefire and withdrawal, but also commitments that there will be no further aggression. And also, there’s the opportunity to have snapback sanctions if there is further aggression in future. That is a real lever that I think can be used.”
It comes after Moscow indicated it may scale back its invasion, after facing much fiercer Ukrainian resistance than expected.
Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy on Friday said Russia’s “main goal” was the “liberation” of the Donbas region in Ukraine’s east.
Putin launched an all-out invasion last month on air, land and sea to take at least half of the country including the capital of Kyiv.
However, no major cities have been taken by Russian ground troops despite constant shelling on civilian targets and the destruction of large parts of cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol.