The West must not lift sanctions against Russia until all its troops have left Ukraine and Vladimir Putin is unable to mount such an offensive again, the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, has said.
She was speaking alongside the Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, in Warsaw, where the two discussed how to step up sanctions against Russia to the maximum in the wake of the alleged war crimes revealed in Bucha.
She said: “There should be no talk of removing sanctions, while Putin’s troops are in Ukraine, and the threat of Russian aggression looms over Europe. We need to see Putin withdraw his troops. We need to see Ukraine’s full territorial integrity restored. We need to see Russia’s ability for further aggression stopped.”
She said the sanctions had already set back Russia’s economy by 15 years, but now it was necessary to go to the maximum level of sanctions since the worst in terms of atrocities had already happened.
She said she believed Vladimir Putin only responded to force, adding the UK intends to press for a timetable to end western dependency on Russian energy to be agreed at a meeting of G7 foreign ministers to be attended by Germany and Italy, two of the countries most dependent on Russian energy.
Kuleba urged any foreign minister thinking of voting against such an embargo to come first to visit the mass graves in Ukraine, adding half measures are no longer enough. He said he feared the bodies discovered in Bucha were just the tip of the iceberg and worse horrors will be uncovered when the siege of Mariupol is lifted.
“I can tell you without an exaggeration, but with great sorrow, that the situation in Mariupol is much worse compared to what we’ve seen in Bucha and others cities, towns and villages near Kiev,” he said.
At a press conference after their meeting Truss announced an extra £10m in UK funding to help victims of sexual violence in the conflict, as well as technical advice including from the Metropolitan police to help Ukraine gather evidence of war crimes.
She said: “I am afraid it is not the end of the atrocities, and we should simply not be doing business with Putin.
“We have seen butchery, evidence of rape and sexual violence, as well as the indiscriminate killing of civilians. We will ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice for these barbaric crimes. And, together with our allies, we will step up our efforts to stop Putin’s appalling war.”
Although she said it is very clear that war crimes have taken place, she said it was for the courts to decide if this amounted to genocide, the claim already made by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Both ministers joined the US call for Russia to be expelled from the UN Human Rights Council.
Calling for a tough new wave of sanctions, Truss said: “The reality is that money is still flowing from the west into Putin’s war machine. That has to stop.”
She called for a ban on Russian ships in European ports, closure of Russian banks’ access to international payment systems, a clampdown on Russian gold sales by the Russian central bank as well as the timetable to end dependency on Russian energy.