Ukraine to declare state of emergency as Putin boasts of high-tech hypersonic weapons

23 February 2022, 08:52 | Updated: 23 February 2022, 17:49

Vladimir Putin will endure "more pain" if he invades Ukraine, Liz Truss says
Vladimir Putin will endure "more pain" if he invades Ukraine, Liz Truss says. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Ukraine has declared a state of emergency as Vladimir Putin praised his troops and boasted of Russia's high-tech weapons in a sabre-rattling speech.

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Speaking on Defender of the Fatherland Day, which marks the first mass draft into the Red Army in 1918, the Russian president congratulated the armed forces on their "professionalism" and said he was assured they would stand up for the country's national interests - which he said are "non-negotiable". 

Putin, as he has done throughout the crisis, insisted that diplomacy with the West is still possible but gave no hint that he is willing to back down over any of his security demands - including that Ukraine disarm and drop its bid to join NATO

These have been dismissed by the US, Kiev and Nato as non-starters.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is set to declare a state of emergency which will last 30 days - if parliament approves it.

Top security official Oleksiy Danilov said it would be imposed across all regions except in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Foreign Secretary warns of further "pain" for Russia if they invade

Liz Truss earlier warned Putin will endure "more pain" from tougher sanctions if he orders a full invasion of Ukraine.

Her stark rhetoric comes as Russia still masses some 150,000 troops on the border of its embattled neighbour.

Speaking to MPs on Wednesday, Boris Johnson said further military aid would be sent to Ukraine "in light of the increasingly threatening behaviour" from Russia.

He told the Commons: "In light of the increasingly threatening behaviour from Russia, and in line with our previous support, the UK will shortly be providing a further package of military support to Ukraine.

"This will include lethal aid in the form of defensive weapons and non-lethal aid."

Despite claiming it has no intention to invade, the Kremlin was due to deploy forces to the separatist-controlled parts of the Donbas and Luhansk regions.

Ms Truss told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that Britain has put in place the "toughest package of sanctions that we've ever put on Russia" and is ready with more if the crisis escalates.

"What’s important is we're working in collaboration with our allies across the world to make sure Putin is getting a single message - that we will inflict pain for the recognition of these two so-called republics," she said.

"We will inflict more pain in the event of a full-scale invasion."

Read more: Boycott Champions League final in Russia, Truss tells Premier League teams

Read more: US orders armed forces to Baltic states as 10,000 Russian troops enter Ukraine

Starmer asks why full sanctions against Russia haven't been launched

Asked about other individuals being sanctioned, Ms Truss said: "We have targeted three of Putin's closest friends and oligarchs in our most recent sanctions package that we announced yesterday… nobody is off the table in terms of future sanctions."

Putin said he would send so-called "peacekeeping" troops to the areas, which have declared themselves republics.

Western powers said this was tantamount to an invasion, with tanks and armoured personnel carriers reported in the area.

However, despite health secretary Sajid Javid saying yesterday that the invasion was effectively under way, Ms Truss said there was no evidence of that yet.

"We don't have evidence that he has yet invaded – what we have seen is a huge build-up of troops on the border… we have not yet seen a full-scale invasion.

"If and when and we do think it is highly likely there is a full-scale invasion we will hit Putin with even more tough sanctions."

The UK sanctioned five Russian banks and three oligarchs close to Putin, while the US expanded its own measures.

Iryna Dmytrenko says Ukrainian residents are scared and preparing for an attack

In a crucial moment, Germany announced on Tuesday it was halting certification of the controversial Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, which was seen as a way Moscow could exert pressure on Ukraine, through which its gas already flows.

Ms Truss' comments follow the deployment of US troops to NATO's Baltic members, with President Joe Biden saying the world heard "the full extent of Vladimir Putin’s twisted rewrite of history" – a reference to a speech the Russian president made about Ukraine earlier this week.

"Nothing in Putin's remarks indicate any interest in pursuing real dialogue in European security in the year 2022. He directly attacked Ukraine's right to exist," Biden said, adding that there was still a chance to avoid a war that would "bring untold suffering to millions of people".

"The United States and our allies remain open to diplomacy, if it is serious.

"But when all is said and done, we're going to judge Russia by its actions, not its words, and whatever Russia does next we're ready to respond with unity, clarity and conviction."