Liz Truss to bite back with major announcement today as Putin nuclear row ramps up

Liz Truss says Putin ‘determined to use most unsavoury means’

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The Foreign Secretary will give a statement to MPs on the latest situation as the Kremlin continues to uptake rhetoric on war. Putin sparked alarm last night after announcing that he wanted Russia’s nuclear weapons to be placed on stand-by as his attack on Ukraine continues to fail to go as planned.

His comments have sent shockwaves through Europe about the level of escalation the Kremlin would be willing to go to.

In televised remarks, the Russian President said: “Senior officials of the leading Nato countries also allow aggressive statements against our country, therefore I order the minister of defence and the chief of the general staff to transfer the deterrence forces of the Russian army to a special mode of combat duty.”

He added: “Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading Nato members made aggressive statements regarding our country.”

This morning Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov palmed Ms Truss for the escalation.

“Statements were made by various representatives at various levels on possible altercations or even collisions and clashes between Nato and Russia,” he said.

“We believe that such statements are absolutely unacceptable.

“I would not call the authors of these statements by name, although it was the British foreign minister.”

This afternoon’s statement will be the first chance the Foreign Secretary has had to respond to the inflammatory remarks.

She will give a statement in the House of Commons at 3.30pm.

While Ms Truss will likely respond to Russia’s nuclear threat, she is expected to outline more details of the sanctions the UK is imposing on Moscow.

Britain has sought to act in conjunction with the EU, US and other Western allies to economically cripple Russia as punishment for last week’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Russia’s national currency, the rouble, dropped more than 20 percent against the dollar this morning in response to the economic measures imposed.

The Central Bank of the Russian Federation has been forced to hike up interest rates from 9.5 percent to 20 percent in a frantic bid to stabilise the economy.

Central banks typically hold reserves overseas in dollars and other major global currencies.

But the sanctions mean Moscow cannot access those funds which the central banks could have used to prop up the country’s currency.

Britain has continued to ramp up sanctions on an almost daily basis in order to keep up the pressure on Putin.

More to follow…

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