Russia is infuriated with Liz Truss, the UK’s new Prime Minister: What does Ukraine think about her?
The UK-Ukraine relationship was one of the first things Truss addressed after taking office and will likely remain at the forefront of her priorities.
The United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, enters Downing Street at a time when the country is struggling on a number of fronts. The cost-of-living crisis; rampant inflation; and ailing national health service are major concerns, but Truss found time on her first day in office to contact Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
On Tuesday evening she spoke with Zelenskyy to “reiterate the United Kingdom’s steadfast support for Ukraine’s freedom and democracy,” according to a government statement.
Truss had previously served as Foreign Secretary under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and had visited Kyiv multiple times since the start of the year. She praised the Ukrainians’ “fight for sovereignty and self-determination” and confirmed that she will visit Zelenskyy again in the near future.
Ukraine welcome the appointment of Truss as PM
Truss had only served as Foreign Secretary since 2021 so a large proportion of her work in the role related to the UK’s solidarity with Ukraine. She showed herself to be a committed supporter of Ukraine and will look to build on the relationship generated by her predecessor, Boris Johnson.
Since entering office she has promised to ensure that “the flame of freedom in Ukraine continues to burn bright,” adding, “under my leadership, President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy will have no greater ally at this dark hour than the UK.”
In turn Zelenskyy offered a warm welcome to Truss, saying that diplomatic ties between the two nations were already at “an unprecedentedly high level.”
“We in Ukraine know her well – she has always been on the bright side of European politics. And I believe that together we will be able to do a lot more to protect our nations and to thwart all Russian destructive efforts. The main thing is to preserve our unity, and this will definitely be the case,” Zelenskyy said.
Russian officials mock Truss’ appointment
Predictably the Russian view of Truss is less favourable and a number of Kremlin officials have poured scorn on her promotion to Prime Minister. Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s chief spokesperson, warned that Truss’ stance on Russia could sour relations between the two countries even further.
“I wouldn’t like to say that things can change for the worse, because it’s hard to imagine anything worse,” he said, when asked how Truss’ leadership could affect diplomatic relations. “But unfortunately, this cannot be ruled out.”
Truss has previously drawn criticism from the Russian government after appearing to confuse the Black and Baltic Seas and reportedly telling her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov that the UK would never recognise Moscow’s sovereignty over Rostov and Voronezh, two Russian cities.
At the time Russian Foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova complained of “the stupidity and ignorance of Anglo-Saxon politicians”.
Responding to Truss’ victory in the Conservative Party leadership race, Russian state TV declared: “Stupidity has triumphed: Liz Truss has become the new prime minister … If Boris Johnson achieved Brexit, she wants to achieve something entirely different – the end of the world.”
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