Foreign secretary Liz Truss has said ending reliance on Russian gas supplies will be key to safeguarding democracy in Europe.

Speaking with BBC Breakfast amid reports Russia is scaling down its presence on Ukraine’s eastern and northern borders, Truss highlighted how a  “very damaging” war in Ukraine would inevitably result in an energy price hike pressing the need to  “find alternative sources”.

“In the United Kingdom only three per cent of our gas is from Russia, which is different from continental Europe. We are working to support people with the cost of living but of course a war in Ukraine would do further damage to the European gas market,” she explained.

Truss argued that the government’s petrol duty freeze had saved customers “£15 every time they fill up with petrol”. However she highlighted the “global situation of high oil and gas prices”, going on: “One of the things we need to do is reduce dependence on Russian gas for the long-term future of freedom and democracy in Europe.”

Quizzed by Sky News earlier today on the crisis she suggested that it would be “simply unconscionable” to imagine the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline going ahead in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. She expressed hope that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz would issue a “very clear” message to Russian president Vladimir Putin who he is scheduled to hold talks with today.

Truss went on to respond to questions over the prime minister’s refusal to apologise for his comments regarding Labour leader Keir Starmer and the failure to prosecute Jimmy Savile.

She told Sky News: “The Prime Minister did clarify his remarks and of course I deeply regret what happened to Keir Starmer,” referring to the mobbing of Sir Keir and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy by a group of protestors in Westminster last Monday.

Many of the attendees were shouting about Savile, while further videos circulating social media  show members of the protest shouting about  the “new world order,” and accusing Sir Keir of being a “traitor” and a “pedophile protector.”

The protest followed comments made by Boris Johnson in the Commons, in which he accused the Labour leader of spending more “time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile” during his tenure as director of public prosecutions.

“Every politician needs to be able to go about their job without fear, that’s very important,” Truss went on, adding: “But ultimately it’s the perpetrators who attacked Keir Starmer, who verbally abused Keir Starmer who we should be putting the blame on.”