Liz Truss says she ‘absolutely’ supports individual Brits going to fight in Ukraine

‘Of course that is something that people can make their own decisions about’

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Sunday 27 February 2022 10:41 GMT
Liz Truss says she ‘absolutely’ support British people going to fight in Ukraine

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has said she would “absolutely” support individual Brits going to fight Russian forces in Ukraine, insisting: “People can make their own decisions”.

It comes after the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, pledged to arm the country’s international “friends” who choose to travel to the country and help defend against the Kremlin’s advances.

Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba added: “Foreigners willing to defend Ukraine and world order as part of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine, I invite you to contact foreign diplomatic missions of Ukraine in your respective countries.”

Asked whether she would support the call, Ms Truss told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “I do support that. Of course that is something that people can make their own decisions about.

“The people of Ukraine are fighting for freedom and democracy — not just for Ukraine, but for the whole of Europe because that is what president Putin is challenging”.

The cabinet minister added: “Absolutely if people want to support that struggle, I would support them doing that”.

While the UK government has ruled out sending British troops to the region, she added ministers were doing “all we can” to supply defensive weapons to the Eastern European country.

Giving an update on the situation in Ukraine, the cabinet minister earlier insisted that the Ukrainian resistance had been “unexpected” by Moscow, but warned the conflict could drag on for years.

“I fear this this will be a long-haul. This could be a number of years,” she said.

“What we do know is Russia have strong forces, but we know the Ukrainians are brave, they are determined to stand up for their sovereignty.”

Earlier, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, said he believed his country will hold out out for “as long as needed” and said the “whole nation” was against Russia.

“We’re holding. It’s been just four days. I believe that we’ll hold as long as needed,” he added, insisting that the Kremlin had “miscalculated” with the invasion.

“They came with 150,000 troops. It’s totally not enough,” the ambassador said.

As the government also faces criticism over its failure to introduce a dedicated scheme for refugees from Ukraine and relax the visa requirement, Ms Truss also said ministers were “urgently look at what more we can do to facilitate that”.

“It is a desperate situation,” she added. “We need to stop Putin’s ambitions in Ukraine. There are dire consequences if we don’t for freedom and democracy across Europe,” she said.

“We will continue to tighten the ratchet on Vladimir Putin, to tighten the ratchet on the economy.”

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