Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:13 pm on 28th March 2022.

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Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss Minister for Women and Equalities, Foreign Secretary, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office 5:13 pm, 28th March 2022

The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: this is about the future of freedom and democracy, and the future of European security. The Ukrainians and President Zelensky are fighting bravely. They are fighting not just for their own future, but all our futures, and they deserve all the help we can give them: humanitarian support, lethal aid, and the moral and diplomatic support that we are providing.

The right hon. Gentleman is also right to say that Putin must not gain from this appalling aggression. There will be no letting up on sanctions. We want to see sanctions tightening. Putin will pay the cost. He will be held to account in the International Criminal Court. We are working with our allies to collect evidence. Of course, we need to make sure that Ukraine is rebuilt following this appalling war and the appalling devastation that the people of Ukraine have experienced.

The right hon. Gentleman is also right that we want to see sanctions increase. In the case of banks, the UK has imposed the most bank sanctions of any of our allies. We want our allies to follow suit, and we want to do more in terms of completely de-SWIFTing the Russian economy and tackling banks of strategic importance, such as Sberbank. We also sanction more oligarchs and other entities than either the EU or the US does. We want to do more, we will do more and we want our partners to do more.

The most crucial thing of all is cutting off the supply of finance from oil and gas. That is what will completely debilitate the Putin regime, and that is why we want the G7 to agree a very clear timetable to end dependence on Russian oil and gas completely. It is vital that we never go back to being dependent on an authoritarian regime for core parts of our economic survival. With next week’s NATO summit, we have an opportunity to move forward with those plans. I encourage all our allies to work with us on this, because the only thing that Putin will understand is tougher sanctions and more defensive aid.

We have boosted our defence spending, and we continue in talks with our NATO allies about boosting the eastern flank. The UK is also leading with the joint expeditionary force, working with our allies around Europe. I talk to my European counterparts all the time. We are committed to boosting European security and working with our friends right across the EU.