BRITAIN dropped the ball on tackling Mad Vlad by slashing spy numbers and defence spending after the Cold War, Liz Truss has claimed.
The Foreign Secretary said relations with the Russian President could never recover — confessing that when it came to defending the UK: “We let down our guard.”
And Ms Truss insisted that the warring tyrant was on track to target Nato countries next if we did not take a hard line now.
In a powerful plea to Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of next week’s Spring Statement, she made the case for a huge rearming of the UK to be ready for a possible war.
Ms Truss joined forces with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to call on Boris Johnson to turn on the spending taps after years of us allowing the Kremlin to flood the UK with fake news and lies.
She said: “We’ve never seen anything like this in our lifetimes and we have to do everything we can do to stop it.”
And she stressed the only tactic that would work on Putin was to show strength and continue to hit him where it hurt.
In her first major interview since outbreak of war in Ukraine, the Foreign Secretary:
- INSISTED Britain must do everything to arm the Ukrainians as President Volodymyr Zelensky begged us for more weapons.
- LASHED the lawyers threatening to sue the Government for hundreds of millions of pounds on behalf of the oligarchs.
- VOWED our toughest—ever sanctions were throwing Russia back to the communist era and freezing it out.
- ADMITTED Brits would pay the price for punishing Putin — but it would be worth it to stop him.
It came as another 370 individuals, including oligarch’s families for the first time, were threatened with sanctions last night in a day of reckoning for Putin’s buddies.
Ms Truss hailed emergency legislation cutting through red tape from Lords, who have held us back from acting as quickly as the EU and US over fears wealthy cronies could take ministers to court.
She added: “We can act immediately without fear of being sued by these legal firms for huge damages.”
And she warned: “If Putin doesn’t lose in Ukraine, he will not stop there. We will see direct threats to countries, including Nato countries.
“The fact is we did not do enough to stand up to Putin in 2014 when he invaded Ukraine.
“Because of that failure to act then, we are now facing these very high costs, and the cost will get only worse.”
“The free world did not spend enough on defence after the Cold War. We let down our guard.
“The Foreign Office abandoned our information unit and we have been flooded by Russian disinformation. We became too dependent on authoritarian regimes.”
Ms Truss called on allies around the world to step up and praised Germany for splashing their cash.
She ridiculed calls to give Putin a way to climb down and pull his tens of thousands of troops back from Ukraine, claiming: “The only thing that works is strength. We should not be trying to negotiate with Putin or trying to give him a way out.
“The only thing we can do is to be tougher in our sanctions to cut off funding and be stronger in our support for Ukraine, providing what they need to fight.
“The Ukrainians are not just fighting for Ukraine, they are fighting for freedom and democracy. There is a cost to consumers of the action that we’re taking.
“But the cost of not taking that action is much higher.”
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