UK ambassador to Ukraine leaves country as Russian war escalates, Liz Truss says

Foreign secretary says Melinda Simmons left Lviv due to ‘serious security situation’

Britain’s ambassador to Ukraine has left the country because of the “serious security situation”, Liz Truss has revealed.

As the Kremlin continues to wage war in the Eastern European country, the foreign secretary told MPs all diplomatic missions in the country have now closed.

“Our ambassador has left Ukraine because of the serious security situation,” she said.

It was previously announced that the ambassador, Melinda Simmons, had moved from the capital Kyiv to Lviv in western Ukraine, where the threat was considered less acute.

The ambassador and her core team won plaudits ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for remaining in Kyiv to aid the the evacuation of British nationals.

The comments came as the foreign secretary claimed Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the Eastern European country had “shattered the security architecture of Europe” and showed that Nato needed to spend more on defence.

Asked why efforts to deter the Russian president had failed, Ms Truss told the Commons foreign affairs committee: “I think post-Cold War the West took its eye off the ball”.

“Defence budgets were cut, there was too much entering into trade and economic relationships without understanding the underlying strategic dependency that would lead to.

This graphic shows the countries Ukrainian refugees are fleeing to

“That’s particularly true of hydrocarbons, which are of course a major part of the Russian economy, but it’s also true of technology exports.”

The West “enabled the development of Russian high-tech warfare” by providing the funding through oil and gas sales, she added.

“Everything from financial services to broader parts of the service economy were integrated with Russia despite the fact that we saw what happened in 2008 (in Georgia), we saw what happened in 2014 (in Crimea).”

On Nato, Ms Truss went on: "What we have to do now is we have to strengthen Nato, we particularly have to strengthen the eastern flank.

"We have already deployed more troops into Estonia but there is more to do. We have to be serious about defence spending, right across Nato.”

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