Family sob for mum and baby killed by missile as Truss warns war could last a decade

28 April 2022, 00:17 | Updated: 28 April 2022, 00:19

russ warned if Putin 'succeeds there will be untold further misery across Europe'
Liz Truss warned if Putin 'succeeds there will be untold further misery across Europe'. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Megan Hinton

The UK Foreign Secretary has warned Putin's war with Ukraine could last to five to 10 years as fears grow over Russia's capability to unleash weapons of mass destruction.

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Liz Truss said the West "must be prepared for the long haul" as she voiced concerns that the Russian President may inflict "untold further misery across Europe".

In a keynote foreign policy speech, Ms Truss said the UK needed to strengthen its military while building alliances with free nations around the world, using their economic power to deter aggressors who "do not play by the rules".

The bleak message comes on the same day as a sobbing father in Odessa attended the funeral of his wife, daughter and mother-in-law who were all killed during a missile attack on a civilian apartment block.

Family gathered for the triple funeral on Wednesday for Yuri Glodan's three-month-old daughter Kira, his wife Valeria and his mother-in-law Lyudmila who were killed on Saturday.

Read more: Zelenskyy calls Russia 'filthy scum' as new mass grave discovered and mum and baby killed

Yuri Glodan's three-month-old daughter Kira, his wife Valeria
Yuri Glodan's three-month-old daughter Kira, his wife Valeria. Picture: Twitter

The Foreign Secretary said the G7 group of leading industrialised nations should act as an "economic Nato" defending collective prosperity, while the Western military alliance must be prepared to open its doors to countries such as Finland and Sweden.

Speaking at the Mansion House in the City of London, Ms Truss singled out China, which has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, while increasing imports from Russia and commenting on "who should or shouldn't be a Nato member".

"China is not impervious. They will not continue to rise if they do not play by the rules," she said.

"China needs trade with the G7. We represent around half of the global economy. And we have choices.

"We have shown with Russia the kind of choices that we're prepared to make when international rules are violated."

Read more: Putin's nuke threat of 'lightning' strikes against countries that interfere in Ukraine

Ms Truss said the international architecture intended to guarantee peace and prosperity had failed Ukraine in the face of an attack by a "desperate rogue operator", in the shape of Vladimir Putin, with no interest in international norms.

"Russia is able to block any effective action in the UN Security Council. Putin sees his veto as a green light to barbarism," she said.

In the short term, she said Western allies must "double down" on support for the government in Kyiv, providing the heavy weaponry it needs "to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine".

At the same time, she said the events of the past months must be "a catalyst for wider change".

"Now we need a new approach, one that melds hard security and economic security, one that builds stronger global alliances and where free nations are more assertive and self-confident, one that recognises geopolitics is back," she said.

At home, she said that should mean an increase in defence spending with the Nato minimum of 2% of national income a "floor not a ceiling".

Read more: Exclusive: Ukrainian children fall ill during long UK visa wait as mum 'regrets applying'

At the same time, the UK needed to build a series of strong partnerships with like-minded countries around the world in a "network of liberty".

It comes after Putin stepped up threats of nuclear strikes against countries that ‘interfere’ with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian President issued a chilling warning to legislators in a speech in St Petersburg threatening ‘lightning fast’ retaliatory strikes.

"If someone from the outside tries to intervene in Ukraine then our response will be lightning fast,” he said.

"We have all the weapons we need for this," he said.

"No one else can brag about weapons, and we won’t brag about them. But we will use them."

In Europe, Finland and Sweden should, if they choose to join Nato, be integrated into the alliance "as soon as possible", while states like Moldova and Georgia - which are not Nato members - should have the means to maintain their sovereignty and freedom.

Nato, which has traditionally been focused on the defence of Europe, needed to adopt a "global outlook", working with allies like Japan and Australia to ensure the Pacific is protected and democracies like Taiwan are able to defend themselves.

Ms Truss said they had to be prepared to stand up to "aggressors" who try to exploit their economic power as a "tool of foreign policy" to exert control and to coerce others.

"Access to the global economy must depend on playing by the rules. There can be no more free passes," she said.

"We are showing this with the Russia-Ukraine conflict - Russia's pass has been rescinded.

"The G7 should act as an economic Nato, collectively defending our prosperity. If the economy of a partner is being targeted by an aggressive regime we should act to support them. All for one and one for all."