British Troops ‘Very Unlikely’ to Fight in Ukraine: Foreign Secretary

By Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
January 30, 2022Updated: January 30, 2022

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said it is “very unlikely” for British troops to get involved in fighting in Ukraine, though she said the UK government believes a Russian invasion is “highly likely.”

Asked on the BBC’s “Sunday Morning” programme if she could rule out a scenario with British soldiers “on the ground” in Ukraine during a possible conflict with Russia, Truss said, “That’s very unlikely,” adding that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace “has been clear about that.”

She said, “This is about making sure that the Ukrainian forces have all the support we can give them, whether it’s intelligence support, whether it’s cyber support, whether it’s defensive weapons, which we have been supplying into Ukraine.”

Russia Ukraine
A convoy of Russian armored vehicles moves along a highway in Crimea on Jan. 18, 2022. (AP Photo)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said the alliance has “no plans” to deploy NATO combat troops to Ukraine.

Stoltenberg emphasised the difference between NATO allies and NATO partners when it comes to protecting countries against specific threats.

He told the BBC: “For all NATO allies, we provide 100 percent security guarantees, meaning that if one ally is attacked, that will trigger a response from the whole alliance. One for all, all for one, which is the core message of NATO.”

“For Ukraine, a partner, we provide support and also send the message that there will be heavy economic sanctions if Russia uses force again,” he said.

Truss told the BBC that the UK government believes it is “highly likely” that Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking to invade Ukraine.

Therefore, she said, the UK is “doing all we can through deterrence and diplomacy to urge him to desist.”

She said Britain is also “supplying and offering extra support” to Baltic states, stressing that the UK “is the largest contributor to NATO in Europe” and “the largest European NATO supporter of troops and defences in Europe.”

Truss said the UK is strengthening its sanctions regime. “We are going to be introducing new legislation so that we can hit targets including those who are key to the Kremlin’s continuation and the continuation of the Russian regime,” she said.

Talking to Sky News earlier, Truss said Nord Stream 2, a planned gas pipeline which would run from Russia to Europe across the Baltic Sea and bypass an existing pipeline running through Ukraine and Belarus, should be halted if Russia invades Ukraine.

“We cannot favour short-term economic interests over the long-term survival of freedom and democracy in Europe. That’s the tough decision all of us have got to make,” she told the “Trevor Phillips On Sunday” programme.

PA Media contributed to this report.