Ukraine war may last five years, warns Truss with call for West to ‘double down’ on support for Kyiv

Foreign secretary calls for allies to send tanks, planes and other heavy weapons to Ukraine, saying ‘inaction would be the greatest provocation’

UK failing to set out mission success in Ukraine, Tobias Ellwood warns

Liz Truss has called on Western allies to “double down” on their support for Ukraine amid fears that Russia’s war could last five years or longer.

The foreign secretary, speaking on Wednesday evening at the annual foreign policy speech at Mansion House, said Kyiv needed more tanks, warplanes and other heavy weapons.

Fears of escalating the war are misplaced and “inaction would be the greatest provocation”, Ms Truss said, calling the current moment “a time for courage, not caution”.

“Heavy weapons, tanks, airplanes – digging deep into our inventories, ramping up production. We need to do all of this,” she said, adding that Russian forces must be pushed out of “the whole of Ukraine”, calling it a “strategic imperative”.

“The architecture that was designed to guarantee peace and prosperity has failed Ukraine. The economic and security structures developed after the Second World War and then the Cold War have been bent out of shape so far that they have enabled rather than contained aggression.

“If Putin succeeds, there will be untold further misery across Europe and terrible consequences across the globe.

“We would never feel safe again. So we must be prepared for the long haul and double down on our support for Ukraine.”

With no sign of an end to the fighting, Ms Truss is said to fear that the war may last five years or even double that, according to The Times.

In her keynote speech, the foreign secretary also called for tougher economic sanctions on Russia, saying the West must cut off Russian oil and gas imports “once and for all”.

She also called for a new focus on “military strength, economic security and deeper global alliances” among “free nations”.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss speaks at the Easter Banquet at Mansion House in the City of London

After years of declining military spending in many countries, she said Nato’s goal that countries spend 2 per cent of gross domestic product on defence should be “a floor, not a ceiling”.

Ms Truss called the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, a “desperate rogue operator” who she said was ripping up the global order and outfoxing international institutions.

But she also singled out China, which has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, while increasing imports from Russia.

“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.”

On 24 February, Russian troops entered Ukrainian territory in what the Russian president declared a ‘special military operation’, resulting in fighting and destruction in the country, a huge flow of refugees, and multiple sanctions against Russia

Nato, which has traditionally been focused on the defence of Europe, needed to adopt a “global outlook”, she said, 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.”

Additional reporting by agencies

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