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The Ukraine war could last more than five years, ministers fear, as Liz Truss warned Vladimir Putin must be completely driven out of Ukraine else he will seek to invade more European nations.

The Foreign Secretary said the Russian leader is a ‘desperate rogue operator’ who should not be rewarded for his aggression.

Government officials are concerned Putin could launch attacks on Moldova or Georgia if he is allowed to keep hold of Ukrainian territory, dragging the conflict on for years to come.

In a major foreign policy speech last night, Miss Truss warned if he ‘succeeds there will be untold further misery across Europe and terrible consequences across the globe’.

She said Britain and its allies must ‘keep going further and faster to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine’.

And in an indication that the battle over Ukraine could drag on, she argued ‘we must be prepared for the long haul’.

The shocking prediction came as the human cost of war was underlined by a heartbreaking triple funeral in Ukraine which showed the true human cost of the savagery that Russia’s leader has unleashed on his neighbour.

Yuri Glodan was wrecked with the pain of loss and disbelief when he was forced to bury his beloved three-month-old daughter Kira, his wife Valeria and his mother-in-law Lyudmila after they were killed in a Russian rocket strike on their apartment building on Saturday.

Liz Truss warned Vladimir Putin must be completely driven out of Ukraine else he will seek to invade more European nations

Liz Truss warned Vladimir Putin must be completely driven out of Ukraine else he will seek to invade more European nations

Liz Truss warned Vladimir Putin must be completely driven out of Ukraine else he will seek to invade more European nations

The Foreign Secretary said the Russian leader is a 'desperate rogue operator' who should not be rewarded for his aggression

The Foreign Secretary said the Russian leader is a 'desperate rogue operator' who should not be rewarded for his aggression

The Foreign Secretary said the Russian leader is a ‘desperate rogue operator’ who should not be rewarded for his aggression

Valeria and her three-month-old daughter Kira were killed when a Russian rocket hit their residential building in Odesa

Valeria and her three-month-old daughter Kira were killed when a Russian rocket hit their residential building in Odesa

Valeria and her three-month-old daughter Kira were killed when a Russian rocket hit their residential building in Odesa 

Yuri Glodan, 30, breaks down by his three month old daughter's coffin at a burial service held at the Avangard Cemetery, Odesa

Yuri Glodan, 30, breaks down by his three month old daughter's coffin at a burial service held at the Avangard Cemetery, Odesa

Yuri Glodan, 30, breaks down by his three month old daughter’s coffin at a burial service held at the Avangard Cemetery, Odesa

It is understood ministers are concerned Putin could resort to using short range nuclear missiles or chemical weapons as he becomes increasingly desperate.

Miss Truss is firmly making the case behind closed doors that Russia should not be given any Ukrainian territory in any peace talks.

She argued the crisis in Ukraine must be the catalyst for an overhaul to the West’s approach to international security.

In his latest chilling threat to the West,  Putin vowed to use nuclear weapons against any country that dares to ‘interfere’ with Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The despot, addressing legislators in St Petersburg, said his response to anyone who ‘threatens’ Russia will be ‘lightning-fast’ and deadly.

‘If someone intends to interfere in what is going on from the outside they must know that constitutes an unacceptable strategic threat to Russia. They must know that our response to counter strikes will be lightning fast. Fast,’ he said.

‘We have all the weapons we need for this. No one else can brag about these weapons, and we won’t brag about them. But we will use them.’

Though Putin did not mention nuclear weapons directly, he was almost certainly referring to Russia’s new Sarmat 2 nuclear missile which was tested for the first time just days ago and that he boasted is unlike any other weapon in the world. 

The dire threats came as Moscow claimed to have carried out a missile strike in southern Ukraine to destroy a ‘large batch’ of Western-supplied weapons. 

Miss Truss said the UK needed to strengthen its military while building alliances with free nations around the world, using their economic power to deter aggressors who ‘do not play by the rules’.

She said the G7 group of leading industrialised nations should act as an ‘economic Nato’ defending collective prosperity, while the Western military alliance must be prepared to open its doors to countries such as Finland and Sweden.

Yuri Godan with his 3 month daughter Kira, in Odesa, Ukraine.His wife Valeriya and their 3 month daughter Kira died when the Russian missile hit their apartment building

Yuri Godan with his 3 month daughter Kira, in Odesa, Ukraine.His wife Valeriya and their 3 month daughter Kira died when the Russian missile hit their apartment building

Yuri Godan with his 3 month daughter Kira, in Odesa, Ukraine.His wife Valeriya and their 3 month daughter Kira died when the Russian missile hit their apartment building

The burial service of Yuri Glodan's family held at the Avangard Cemetery in Odesa.Yuri's wife Valeria, 28, three month old daughter Kira and mother in law, Lyudmila Yavkina they were all killed when a Russian missile hit their apartment building last Saturday

The burial service of Yuri Glodan's family held at the Avangard Cemetery in Odesa.Yuri's wife Valeria, 28, three month old daughter Kira and mother in law, Lyudmila Yavkina they were all killed when a Russian missile hit their apartment building last Saturday

The burial service of Yuri Glodan’s family held at the Avangard Cemetery in Odesa.Yuri’s wife Valeria, 28, three month old daughter Kira and mother in law, Lyudmila Yavkina they were all killed when a Russian missile hit their apartment building last Saturday

Yuri Golden, 30, stands with his mother Nina Glodan, 50 and sister Anastacia, 21, at the funeral service of his family in Odesa

Yuri Golden, 30, stands with his mother Nina Glodan, 50 and sister Anastacia, 21, at the funeral service of his family in Odesa

Yuri Golden, 30, stands with his mother Nina Glodan, 50 and sister Anastacia, 21, at the funeral service of his family in Odesa

Friends console Yuri Glodan at the funeral service of family in Odesa on Wednesday following the deaths of his daughter, wife and mother-in-law

Friends console Yuri Glodan at the funeral service of family in Odesa on Wednesday following the deaths of his daughter, wife and mother-in-law

Friends console Yuri Glodan at the funeral service of family in Odesa on Wednesday following the deaths of his daughter, wife and mother-in-law

Speaking at the Mansion House in the City of London, Miss Truss singled out China, which has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, while increasing imports from Russia and commenting on ‘who should or shouldn’t be a Nato member’.

‘China is not impervious. They will not continue to rise if they do not play by the rules,’ she said.

‘China needs trade with the G7. We represent around half of the global economy. And we have choices.

‘We have shown with Russia the kind of choices that we’re prepared to make when international rules are violated.’ Miss Truss said the international architecture intended to guarantee peace and prosperity had failed Ukraine in the face of an attack by a ‘desperate rogue operator’, in the shape of Putin, with no interest in international norms.

‘Russia is able to block any effective action in the UN Security Council. Putin sees his veto as a green light to barbarism,’ she said.

In the short term, she said Western allies must ‘double down’ on support for the government in Kyiv, providing the heavy weaponry it needs ‘to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine’.

At the same time, she said the events of the past months must be ‘a catalyst for wider change’.

‘Now we need a new approach, one that melds hard security and economic security, one that builds stronger global alliances and where free nations are more assertive and self-confident, one that recognises geopolitics is back,’ she said.

At home, she said that should mean an increase in defence spending with the Nato minimum of two per cent of national income a ‘floor not a ceiling’.

The European Union warned Russia on Wednesday it would not bend to ‘blackmail’ over its support for Kyiv, after the Kremlin cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland.

The warning came as UN chief Antonio Guterres arrived in Kyiv to meet president Zelensky following talks with Putin in Moscow to expand humanitarian support and secure civilian evacuations. 

As the war, which has already claimed thousands of lives, entered its third month, Kyiv conceded that Russian forces had made gains in the east.

Russia’s military offensive saw it capture a string of villages in the Donbas region, now the immediate target of its invasion force.

And in its economic standoff with the West, Moscow cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland, two EU and NATO members backing Ukraine in the conflict.

However later Wednesday in Brussels, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Poland and Bulgaria are now receiving gas from their EU neighbours.

She described the announcement by Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom as ‘another provocation from the Kremlin’ that would be countered.

‘It comes as no surprise that the Kremlin uses fossil fuels to try to blackmail us… Our response will be immediate, united and coordinated.

‘Both Poland and Bulgaria are now receiving gas from their EU neighbours,’ she said. ‘The era of Russian fossil fuels in Europe will come to an end.’

Olexandr Chernenko, 54, shows his neighbour's destroyed house, who according to him was killed by shrapnel, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Lukashivka, Chernihiv region, Ukraine

Olexandr Chernenko, 54, shows his neighbour's destroyed house, who according to him was killed by shrapnel, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Lukashivka, Chernihiv region, Ukraine

Olexandr Chernenko, 54, shows his neighbour’s destroyed house, who according to him was killed by shrapnel, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Lukashivka, Chernihiv region, Ukraine

Putin did not mention nukes directly, but spoke of weapons that 'no one else can brag about' - almost certainly a reference to the Sarmat 2 nuke Russia tested last week

Putin did not mention nukes directly, but spoke of weapons that 'no one else can brag about' - almost certainly a reference to the Sarmat 2 nuke Russia tested last week

Putin did not mention nukes directly, but spoke of weapons that ‘no one else can brag about’ – almost certainly a reference to the Sarmat 2 nuke Russia tested last week

EU officials said energy ministers from across the bloc will meet on Monday to discuss the situation.

European powers have imposed massive sanctions on Russia since Putin’s decision to invade his neighbour, while shipping weapons to Ukraine’s defenders.

But they have moved slowly on hitting Moscow’s vast gas exports, with many EU members – notably industrial giant Germany – reliant on Russian energy to keep their lights on.

Putin has attempted to turn up the pressure by insisting that Russia will only accept payments for gas in rubles – hoping to force his foes to prop up his currency.

Gazprom announced the halt of gas to both Poland and highly dependent Bulgaria, saying it had not received payment in rubles from the two EU members.

But von der Leyen said that ‘about 97 percent’ of all EU contracts explicitly stipulate payments in euros or dollars – and warned importing firms off paying in rubles.

‘This would be a breach of the sanctions,’ she told reporters.

The European Commission on Wednesday sought to lend Kyiv economic support by proposing a suspension of import duties on Ukrainian goods, but the idea still needs to be approved in a vote by the bloc’s 27 members.  

Source: dailymail

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