Press Trust of india

Working with partners like India to counter anti-democracy Russia, China: UK

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By: Aditi Khanna

London:  The UK government on Friday warned Russia of “massive consequences” if it did not step back from Ukraine, noting that it is working with partners like India to counter such growing threats to democracy and build a global network of liberty.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss used a speech at the Lowry Institute think tank here to urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to desist from an invasion on its border with Ukraine, where tensions have been building up in the past few weeks.

She went on to call out Russia and China working together against forces of democracy as they get “emboldened” in a way never seen since the Cold War era.

“Russia and China are working together more and more, as they strive to set the standards in technologies like artificial intelligence, assert their dominance over the Western Pacific through joint military exercises and in space through closer ties,” Truss said.

“China and Russia have spotted an ideological vacuum and they’re rushing to fill it. They are emboldened in a way we haven’t seen since the Cold War. As freedom-loving democracies we must rise up to face down these threats. As well as NATO we are working with partners like Australia, India, Japan, Indonesia and Israel to build a global network of liberty,” she said.

In her direct appeal to Putin, she noted: “The Kremlin hasn’t learned the lessons of history. They dream of recreating the Soviet Union, or a kind of ‘Greater Russia’ carving up territory based on ethnicity, and language.

“We know what lies down that path, and the terrible toll in lives lost and human suffering it brings. That’s why we urge President Putin to desist and step back from Ukraine before he makes a massive strategic mistake.”

Truss warned of sanctions if such an invasion were to take place in Ukraine, where the UK has announced a new package of training, support and defensive weapons to boost defensive capabilities.

“Last week, at the NATO-Russia Council we sent a clear message to Moscow that any further incursion into Ukraine would bring massive consequences, including through coordinated sanctions hitting the financial sector, and individuals,” Truss said.

“We’re also pushing for alternatives in energy supply, so that nations are less reliant on Russia for their gas. We need everyone to step up. Together with our allies, we will continue to stand with Ukraine and urge Russia to de-escalate. What happens in Eastern Europe matters for the world,” she added.

Russia denies it is planning an invasion but has moved around 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members, which includes the UK, US and several former Soviet Union states, agree on working together against such a conflict.

Putin, on the other hand, has made a series of demands to the West, including not allowing Ukraine to join NATO.

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