Britain is pushing with its allies for Vladimir Putin to be so militarily weakened by the war in Ukraine that he can never pose a threat to European security and for his forces to leave Ukrainian territory entirely, with the country reverting to its pre-2014 borders.
The G7 group of industrialized nations is also considering whether it could reimpose current punitive economic sanctions if Russia tries to backtrack on the hypothetical future peace deal imposed by Western allies.
Britain has long said the war must end with Putin’s failure, but the containment terms proposed by Western officials include a permanent weakening of Russian military forces so they can no longer pose a threat to Russia. Eastern Europe, as well as Russia’s withdrawal from all territory it has occupied, including Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.
Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense, this week in Germany alluded to that idea, saying the US wanted the war to end with Russia so weakened it could not repeat its attack on Russia. Ukraine.
There has been speculation that Ukraine would be content with a return to the pre-invasion status quo where territory was handed over to Russian-backed de facto separatists.
On Wednesday evening, Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, indicated British thinking on settlement terms in her speech at the mayor’s banquet, saying: “We are doubling down. We will continue to go further and faster to drive Russia out of all of Ukraine.
She also warned Putin – whom she described in her speech as “a desperate rogue operator with no interest in international mores” – that the West would come to the defense of Moldova the same way it defended Ukraine. if Russia staged an attack there. , as seems possible. She said the UK was digging deep into its inventories, including heavy weapons, tanks and planes, to defend Ukraine and other countries threatened by Russia.
She also said that Russia’s future access to the global economy “will depend on playing by the rules. There can no longer be free passes.”
British thinking reflects a growing confidence that the political, economic and military forces deployed against Putin can, in the long run, lead to his complete defeat. London also detects a change in mood in Washington – and to a lesser extent Berlin – including a greater willingness to supply NATO-standard weapons rather than weapons from the old Warsaw Pact arsenal.
Britain envisions that security guarantees to kyiv would largely consist of a commitment to arm Ukraine sufficiently that Russia would not mount an attack. Britain does not favor a NATO-style commitment that Ukraine’s allies would step in to protect Ukraine if it were threatened by Russia.
Critics will say that harsh settlement demands risk pushing Putin into a corner and threatening to use tactical weapons. But the Russian leader has already threatened to use nuclear weapons if red lines are crossed.
In his speech, Truss also issued a warning to China that its rise will not be inevitable if it ignores the rules. Explaining that China is not immune to Western economic pressure, she said China should trade with the G7 as it accounts for about half of the global economy.