Foreign secretary Liz Truss warns Vladimir Putin of ‘terrible quagmire’ if Russia invades Ukraine


risis talks between the United States and Russia were being held on Friday amid mounting fears that Vladimir Putin could be about to invade Ukraine.

The UK and US have become increasingly worried that Russia will invade after the Russian president stationed about 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken arrived in Switzerland this morning for talks with the Kremlin’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov at the Hotel President Wilson in Geneva.

Mr Blinken and his deputies have been meeting with European leaders this week to gather support among allies to commit to hitting Russia with sanctions if it goes ahead with an attack.

President Putin has issued a series of demands to the West, including that Ukraine — which Moscow sees as its backyard — be stopped from joining Nato.

Russia previously seized and annexed the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine in 2014.

The latest talks come as foreign secretary Liz Truss warned Mr Putin that any invasion of Ukraine would lead to huge loss of life and “a terrible quagmire”.

She urged Mr Putin to “desist and step back before he makes a massive strategic mistake”.

Speaking to the Australian thinktank the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Ms Truss said the Government is ready to “put very severe sanctions in place” and British forces are working to support Ukraine’s defensive capabilities.

Ms Truss, along with defence secretary Ben Wallace, are in Australia to discuss the next stage of Aukus, a defence partnership which brings together Australia, the US and the UK.

Ms Truss said The Kremlin “has not learned the lessons of history” and an “invasion will only lead to a terrible quagmire and loss of life, as we know from the Soviet-Afghan war and conflict in Chechnya.”

She called on the “free world” to reduce its economic dependence on Russia as the tensions continue.