Sanctions against Russian oligarchs, banks and businesses could be lifted if Russian President Vladimir Putin ends his invasion of Ukraine and commits to “no further aggression,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said.
In an interview published on Sunday, the foreign secretary said that the threat of “snapback sanctions” would be retained if the Russian president did attack again.
Truss told the Sunday Telegraph that a “negotiations unit” had been established in the Foreign Office to aid possible peace talks.
With the Kremlin’s troops struggling, her comments will be seen as a possible incentive for Putin to cut his losses and broker a deal with Ukraine.
Moscow has given indications after a month of war that it might scale back its ambitions to fight for control of the Donbas region in the east of Ukraine.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned he would not give up territory in peace talks as he noted that his troops have delivered “powerful blows” to invading forces.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that western allies are looking to “steadily ratchet up” the sanctions that have sought to punish Putin and those who prop up his regime.
“Those sanctions should only come off with a full ceasefire and withdrawal, but also commitments that there will be no further aggression,” Truss said.
“And also, there’s the opportunity to have snapback sanctions if there is further aggression in future. That is a real lever that I think can be used,” she added.
Her remarks fit with those of her US counterpart Antony Blinken, who has said the travel bans and asset freezes are “not designed to be permanent.”
The secretary of state said the sanctions could “go away” in the event of an “in effect, irreversible” withdrawal of Russian troops.