Squirming after being presented with evidence of Russian atrocities in Ukraine during a BBC interview, Russian ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin tried to downplay the utter destruction of Mariupol by Russian artillery, even suggesting Ukraine itself may be responsible. When asked about the Foreign Secretary’s claim that the war will end only when Putin removes his troops from Ukraine entirely, Mr Kelin avoided the question and instead took the opportunity to decry Ms Truss’ character.
Earlier this month Ms Truss insisted that sanctions on Russia should remain as long as Russian troops remain in Ukraine.
She told her German counterparts: “Putin is humiliating himself on the world stage. We must ensure he faces a defeat in Ukraine that denies him any benefit and ultimately constrains further aggression.”
She has been among the most outspoken of UK ministers against the Kremlin, stating last month Russia should be pushed out of “the whole of Ukraine”.
Foreign policy analysts raised concerns that making such strong and specific demands may make negotiations harder, and damage Ukrainian interests.
Mr Kelin appeared to seize on this angle of analysis, claiming that Ms Truss would only “prolongate the conflict”.
The ambassador highlighted her limited experience as foreign secretary and said that as she was not a “professional military man”, she was not in a position to make such bold claims.
He said: “If she would like to continue the war she will prolongate the conflict”, later adding “I am convinced the UK is not interested in ending the war”.
Mr Kelin also downplayed the impact of Western sanctions on the Russian economy.
He said it “has not been toppled down”.
The ambassador then argued that as the UK economy is also facing struggles and similar rates of inflation, its sanctions on Russia are not worth it.
Most recent estimates place overall UK inflation at around 9 percent, while Russian state statistics report Russian inflation most recently as 17.5 percent – almost double the UK’s.
Russian business investment is also expected to take a major hit in the long run after many global companies removed themselves from the country.
This could lead to the Russian bank defaulting on its bond payments, with some traders arguing it has a 99 percent chance of doing so.
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