LONDON (Reuters) – British foreign minister Liz Truss says sanctions imposed on Russian individuals and companies could be lifted if Russia withdraws from Ukraine and commits to end aggression, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Saturday.
Britain and other Western nations are using economic sanctions to cripple the Russian economy and punish President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine, seeking to press him to abandon what he calls a special military operation to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Truss held out the possibility the measures could end if Moscow changed course.
“What we know is that Russia signed up to multiple agreements they simply don’t comply with. So there needs to be hard levers. Of course, sanctions are a hard lever,” she said.
“Those sanctions should only come off with a full ceasefire and withdrawal, but also commitments that there will be no further aggression. And also, there’s the opportunity to have snapback sanctions if there is further aggression in future. That is a real lever that I think can be used.”
The British government says it has so far imposed sanctions on banks with total assets of 500 billion pounds ($658.65 billion) and oligarchs and family members with a net worth of more than 150 billion pounds.
Truss also suggested that the crisis had brought Britain and the European Union closer after the relationship became badly strained in the wake of Brexit.
“One of the points I would make about this crisis is we have worked very, very closely with the European Union,” she said.
“Of course, there are some areas with which we have differences with the EU. But fundamentally, we are all democratic nations, we all believe in freedom and the right of people to select their own governments and we are very much united in the fight.”
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Aurora Ellis)