Russia says does not expect frosty UK ties to warm under Truss

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says ‘that no changes for the better are expected’ under the new UK prime minister.

Liz Truss
Liz Truss arrives at the Conservative Party headquarters, after being announced as Britain's next prime minister [File: Phil Noble/Reuters]

Russia does not expect any improvement to its unfriendly relations with the United Kingdom under new Prime Minister Liz Truss, the Kremlin has said.

“Judging by statements made by Madame Truss when she was still foreign minister … one can say with much certainty that no changes for the better are expected,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by the state TASS agency on Tuesday.

His comments came shortly before Truss formally assumed her new role after being appointed by Queen Elizabeth II the day after winning the leadership race of the ruling Conservative Party.

Under her predecessor, Boris Johnson, the UK was one of the staunchest supporters of Ukraine following Russia’s invasion more than six months ago.

In July, Russian politicians were quick to celebrate the downfall of Johnson, casting the British leader as a “stupid clown” who had finally got his just reward for arming Ukraine against Russia.

“He doesn’t like us, we don’t like him either,” Peskov said shortly before Johnson announced his resignation outside Downing Street on July 7 in the face of a series of ethics scandals.

In his speech announcing he was stepping down as Conservative Party leader but planned to stay on as prime minister until a replacement was picked, Johnson addressed the people of Ukraine, pledging that the UK would “continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes”.

Even before Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Johnson had repeatedly criticised Putin. After the invasion, Johnson sent weapons to Ukraine and imposed severe sanctions on Russia, while also twice travelling to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In his daily address late on Monday, Zelenskyy congratulated Truss, describing her as someone “we know well in Ukraine”.

He went on to say Truss “has always been on the bright side of European politics, and I believe that together we will be able to do much more for the protection of our people and failure of all destructive Russian efforts.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies