Truss faces open Russian hostility from day one as British PM By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a joint information convention of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow, Russia February 18, 2022. Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/Kremlin by way of REUTERS/File Photograph

By Mark Trevelyan

LONDON (Reuters) -Brazenly scornful of Liz Truss lengthy earlier than she turned prime minister, the Kremlin is in no temper to grant a honeymoon interval to Britain’s new chief.

Among the many many international politicians who flew to Moscow at the beginning of this 12 months in an effort to move off an invasion of Ukraine, it was Truss who appeared to harass Russia’s management greater than another.

Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov described their dialog as like a dialogue between deaf and mute folks, complaining that info had “bounced off” her.

Then a Russian newspaper reported that Truss, throughout their assembly, had inadvertently advised Lavrov that Britain would by no means recognise Moscow’s sovereignty over two Russian cities, Rostov and Voronezh, and needed to be corrected by her ambassador.

The Kremlin seized on the error for example of Western leaders being poorly knowledgeable. Britain dismissed that as propaganda and mentioned Truss had merely misheard a query from Lavrov.

Tatiana Stanovaya, founding father of political evaluation agency R.Politik, mentioned that incident had performed a big position in forming Russia’s perspective to Truss.

“The Kremlin desires to take care of nice, robust and competent leaders. Truss appears to the Kremlin as a consultant of this new era of superficial Western politicians who come and go and are unable to take care of such nations as Russia, suppose strategically and plan in the long run,” she mentioned.

“They, within the Kremlin, have been so pleased when she made this error. It was a ‘reward’ to make use of immediately in opposition to her.”

Russia additionally pounced on an earlier gaffe when Truss acquired combined up between the Black and Baltic Seas, prompting international ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova to complain of “the stupidity and ignorance of Anglo-Saxon politicians”.

And the federal government newspaper mocked Truss for posing in a fur hat on Crimson Sq. like her position mannequin Margaret Thatcher, though the climate throughout her go to was delicate.

The brazenly contemptuous Moscow view of Truss contrasts with the respect that many Russians accorded to Thatcher, relating to her as a formidable opponent and awarding her the nickname of the Iron Woman, which she embraced as a praise.

Talking earlier than the announcement that Truss had defeated Rishi Sunak in a contest to succeed Boris Johnson as Conservative Celebration chief and prime minister, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned on Monday that relations with London may deteriorate additional.

“I would not wish to say that issues can change for the more serious, as a result of it is laborious to think about something worse,” he mentioned when requested if Moscow anticipated any shift in ties.

“However sadly, this can’t be dominated out, provided that the contenders for the put up of British prime minister competed with one another in anti-Russian rhetoric, in threats to take additional steps in opposition to our nation, and so forth. Subsequently, I don’t suppose that we will hope for something optimistic.”

Political analysts count on Truss to take care of Britain’s stance as some of the energetic and vocal supporters of Ukraine, supplying it with weapons and coaching.

Russian hostility might not overly fear her – and will even show helpful – as she units out to show her credentials as a robust chief going through as much as Moscow over Ukraine.

Regardless of her gaffe through the go to in February, she confirmed herself in a position to stand as much as the much more skilled Lavrov by publicly difficult his assertion that Russia was not threatening anybody with its huge army build-up on the border with Ukraine. Two weeks later, Russia invaded its neighbour.

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