Truss says Conservative party will not return Russia-linked donations

Liz Truss has said the Conservative Party will not return donations with links to Russia as they are declared properly.

However, the foreign secretary wrote in the Times newspaper earlier today that nothing would be “off the table” relating to sanctions in the event of a full-scale invasion, after the UK slammed sanctions on three oligarchs and five banks yesterday afternoon.

These measures came after the launch of an effective invasion of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Monday evening as Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered tanks across the border into provinces he officially recognised as independent from Ukraine.

“All donations to the Conservative Party are from people on the electoral register, in Britain. Those donations are properly declared,” she went on.

“What we’re talking about here is people – the oligarchs that we’re targeting in today’s sanctions – closely linked to Vladimir Putin’s regime.  Now there are many people who have moved to Britain from Russia who are not necessarily friends of Vladimir Putin and who have become British citizens.

“That is a completely different matter from people who are close to Vladimir Putin who are backing his appalling regime… All of those donations are properly declared”.

Labour have complained that Russia-linked donors who  have donated a combined £1.93 million to the Conservative Party and constituency associations since Boris Johnson became prime minister in July 2019.

that the UK was “particularly” supporting a scaled-up military presence in Estonia, and that European and other international allies would be strengthening their forces in the region.

“This is a wake up call for Nato. For years and years Russia has been building up its military strength, it’s been investing in high-tech military capabilities,” she explained in an interview with GB News.

“We in the United Kingdom have upped our military spending but we need to see Nato allies do that as well because my view is if he is successful, and we are doing everything to try and stop him from being successful, Vladimir Putin will not stop at Ukraine. 

“This issue of the economic support we have in Britain, protecting freedom and democracy in Europe. We are able to take tough decisions, the Germans have shown they are prepared to take tough decisions with Nord Stream 2, the Americans have shown they are prepared to take tough decisions.

“All I’m saying is we should be prepared to take those decisions for the long term sake of freedom and democracy in Europe and we are united with our allies in doing that. We need to do more to strengthen Nato and we are working on that.”

She said that British sanctions were “closely coordinated” with Nato allies, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that: “the worst thing we could do is show any divisions in the West.”

What we have done, and we have been working on this since December, is working on a coordinated package of sanctions,” she went on.

She argued that Russian president Vladimir Putin was already  “hell-bent on invading Ukraine” and that this had been his planfor a number of months, the Russians have shown they are not serious about diplomacy. This is about turning the clock back to the mid-1990s, this is about regaining control of Ukraine and what I fear is Putin will not stop at Ukraine.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy has urged sanctions to go further.

“You’ve got the EU effectively going after 27 oligarchs, there are 74,000 Russians here in our country, there’s got to be more than three oligarchs,” Lammy told LBC radio earlier today.

Truss affirmed this morning that the UK had “sanctions left in the locker” as leverage should a full invasion of Ukraine take place.