Britain has escalated an information war with Russia, accusing the Kremlin of making excuses to attack its neighbors and building a military machine that would allow it to strike at any time.
In a series of public interventions, the British government said that Vladimir Putin was “willing to suffer thousands of victims to get what he wanted,” and called on Western allies to accept “short-term pain for long-term gain.” .
Fears are growing that Russia is preparing a “false flag” attack that would give it a pretext to attack Ukraine at any time, and Western diplomats have rejected the Kremlin’s claims to withdraw troops.
Putin deliberately obscured his intentions during military build-up. NATO has sought to counter its strategy by repeatedly releasing classified intelligence, including details of an alleged Russian plot to overthrow the Ukrainian government and replace it with a puppet leader.
In a very unusual move, the Defense Ministry published a map on Thursday showing possible routes for Russia to attack Ukraine from the east, north or south.
The ministry also released a video saying, “Why does President Putin want to go to war? He sees Ukraine as a strategically important buffer zone with NATO. He thinks Ukraine is culturally and historically part of Russia.”
The clip adds: “If President Putin chooses conflict, a large number of civilians will die. Defense intelligence considers itself willing to bear thousands of casualties to get what it wants. But President Putin can still choose peace.”
Liz Truss visits Kiev on Thursday and plans to travel to Poland and then Germany, where she will join Boris Johnson for the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.
During a speech in the Ukrainian capital, the Foreign Minister announced that the UK would increase funding for Ukraine’s democracy and energy security from £88 million to £100 million. He also said Britain was also launching “trilateral partnerships” with Ukraine and Poland.
Truss called the conflict a “litmus test for the West,” calling on allies to “stand up” in Moscow, calling on China to withdraw its support for Russia in a bid to disrupt the nations’ alliance.
He told the audience in Ukraine: “We must confront and defuse Russian aggression now, because otherwise it will embolden not only the Kremlin, but aggressors, authoritarians and autocrats everywhere… In dangerous times, we must take action, a stubborn approach.
“That includes being prepared to accept short-term suffering for long-term gains, whether that be by imposing tough sanctions or reducing strategic dependencies by challenging Nord Stream 2.”
Putin’s aggression extends beyond Eastern Europe, Truss said, asserting that Russia is a “destabilizing force” in Africa and has benefited from “a decade of deviation” by NATO.
In a phone call to Beijing, he added: “China is not the same as Russia. They demand a policy of non-intervention. That’s why it’s surprising to see Chinese leaders allied with the Kremlin… If China is to be seen as a responsible global player, it must do everything possible to ensure that Russia backs down.”
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