Vladimir Putin’s announcement of increased military recruitment to bolster Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine shows that the Russian president “has been tricked” by Kiev, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss told reporters. CNN in an exclusive and comprehensive interview.
The new British leader, who took power at a time of historic turmoil, told Jake Tapper of CNN in the “State of the Union”, that Putin ordered an immediate military escalation “because he is not winning”.
“He made a strategic mistake, invading Ukraine,” Truss said in his first interview with an American network, which aired on Sunday (25).
“I think he was surpassed by the Ukrainians. We saw the Ukrainians continue to retreat against the Russian offensive. And I don’t think he anticipated the strength of the free world’s reaction.”
Truss, who was asked to form a government by Queen Elizabeth II just two days before the monarch’s death, takes charge of a nation in economic crisis.
On Friday, in his first major move as the country’s leader, Truss announced massive tax cuts in a volume not seen since the 1970s, sending UK markets into a slump and pushing the pound to its lowest level. against the dollar since 1985.
Two days earlier in New York, Truss and US President Joe Biden held their first bilateral meeting since she took office.
In a subsequent interview in Downing Street, Truss told CNN that Washington “is an incredibly close partner” but has not reversed controversial comments she made last year when she was foreign secretary, in which she described the US-UK relationship as “special” but not exclusive.
“I think our relationship is special and increasingly important at a time when we face threats from Russia, greater assertiveness from China. You know, we’re both freedom-loving democracies. We have such a strong connection,” she told Tapper.
“I had a great meeting with the president. We talked about many, many subjects. But the heart of it, the heart of it, is our belief in freedom, our belief in democracy. And that’s what we need to keep working on, because we face an increasingly insecure world.”
“Don’t listen to the noise of sabers”
When asked how Western leaders should respond if Putin increases military activity in Ukraine, Truss said they “shouldn’t be listening to his bogus threats.”
“Instead, what we need to do is continue to impose sanctions on Russia and continue to support the Ukrainians.”
Earlier this week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the country would call up 300,000 reservists, following a broad offensive by Kiev this month that spurred Ukraine’s western allies and angered Russia.
The momentum of the war has recently swung in Ukraine’s favor, in a marked shift that US officials widely see as evidence that the kinds of weapons and intelligence the West has provided Kiev in recent months have been effective.
The UK has been one of the most vehement opponents of Russia’s war and one of Ukraine’s biggest supporters, providing money, weapons and aid.
In response to Russia’s staggering military campaign, Putin delivered a speech declaring the “partial mobilisation” of citizens and said he would use “all means at our disposal” – even raising the specter of nuclear weapons – to maintain “territorial integrity”. from Russia.
“If Putin succeeds, this would not only send a terrible message to Europe and of course huge threats to the Ukrainian population itself, but it would also send a message to other authoritarian regimes around the world that it is somehow acceptable to invade a sovereign nation. ,” Truss said.
“That’s why it’s so important that we remain resolute, we don’t hear the saber rattling we’re hearing from Putin and we continue to support the Ukrainians to the fullest. And that is what I am determined the UK will do.”
“I know that President Biden is absolutely committed from a US perspective. We work closely with our American allies, with the G7, and we will continue to do so until Ukraine prevails.”
“What I want to do is find a way forward”
From the rising cost of living at home to the post-Brexit swamp at home and abroad, Truss inherited a country on the brink of crisis when she took office in September.
she told the CNN that by cutting taxes – which critics warn will be more beneficial to the wealthy than most of British society – his government was “encouraging companies to invest and also helping ordinary people with their taxes”.
In addition, she faced pressure to stabilize ties between the White House and Downing Street following the political downfall of Boris Johnson and his subsequent resignation.
While Biden and Johnson were ideologically divided – the former described his UK counterpart as Trump’s “physical and emotional clone” – they were both deeply aligned in their approach to Russia, the climate crisis and the distribution of vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic. .
However, the Northern Ireland Protocol – a post-Brexit measure that requires extra checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK after it leaves the European Union (EU) – has remained a residual thorn in sides of both parties.
The rules were designed to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland open and prevent the return of sectarian violence. But Truss intends to rewrite those rules, causing deep anxiety in Brussels and Washington.
Biden, who makes frequent references to his Irish ancestry, has made his views on the matter clear, although he does not directly involve the United States. In his first phone call as colleagues earlier this month, he raised the matter with Truss, according to the White House.
When asked about her conversation with Biden, Truss told CNN : “President Biden and I agreed that the vital thing is to protect the Belfast Good Friday Agreement. And we’re celebrating 25 years of that deal next year.
“But the important thing is that we protect and respect the positions of both the Northern Irish nationalist community and the Northern Irish trade union community.
“So what I want to do is find a way forward, and my preference is a negotiated solution with the EU that protects that North-South relationship, but also protects the East-West relationship. And that is absolutely essential to the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.”
The UK government’s approach to post-Brexit negotiations has also created rifts with other Western allies, including France.
During her bid for leadership in August, the then UK Foreign Secretary said that “the jury is out” on whether French President Emmanuel Macron should be considered a “friend or foe”.
Macron shrugged his shoulders when asked about Truss’ comments during an extensive interview with Tapper this week.
Although Truss refused to call Macron a “friend,” she told the CNN who had “a very good meeting” with Macron at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
“We once again talked about the values we share with France and how we are working very, very closely in all kinds of areas, for example fighting illegal migration, standing up to Russia, supporting Ukrainians and working together on energy .”
“We need to learn lessons from Ukraine”
More recently, Biden said the US military would defend Taiwan if the Chinese military launched an invasion of the democratically governed island.
Truss was not as direct as Biden in pledging the UK’s military support, but told the CNN : “We are determined to work with our allies to ensure that Taiwan is able to defend itself.”
She added that her administration is working with its G7 allies, including the US, Japan and Canada, to reduce China’s “strategic dependence” and ensure they have a “common response” to Beijing’s threat of military aggression.
“Well, what I made clear is that all our allies need to ensure that Taiwan is able to defend itself. And this is very, very important. And we need to learn lessons from Ukraine.
“The fact is, the free world didn’t do enough to fight Russian aggression early enough. And Putin was encouraged to start this terrible war. And we cannot see this situation happening in other parts of the world.”
“The Commonwealth is a force for good”
In the first week of her term, Truss faced the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
After Britain’s longest-serving monarch died on September 8 at the age of 96, world leaders gathered at Westminster Abbey for an elaborate state funeral filled with pageantry.
However, the queen’s death also highlighted the brutal period of British colonial history during her long reign.
Some members of the Commonwealth – an organization of 56 members from most former British territories – have begun to re-evaluate their relationship with the monarchy.
After confirming King Charles III as King of Antigua and Barbuda on Saturday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne told ITV News that he planned to hold a referendum on whether the country would become a republic within the next three years.
When asked about the stability of the Commonwealth following the Queen’s death, Truss said there had been “enormous warmth” towards King Charles III since his accession, as well as a huge display of affection for his mother.
“I am very, very supportive of the Commonwealth. I think it has been an extremely important organization. The Commonwealth believes in freedom and democracy, which are important principles that we were – we discussed earlier in this interview,” she said.
“Now, of course, it’s a decision for any country as to how they decide to organize themselves. And King Charles III himself was very clear about this. He was clear about this at the Kigali Commonwealth Summit earlier this year.
“But I think the Commonwealth is a force for good. It’s a belief in freedom and democracy, and we need that more in a world where we’re facing these authoritarian regimes that want to subvert – want to subvert these ideas.”
Luke McGee, Kevin Liptak, Maegan Vazquez, and CNN’s Allie Malloy contributed to this story.
Source: CNN Brasil
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