| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

Truss faces open Russian hostility from day one as British PM

The Kremlin was openly critical of Liz Truss long before she became Prime Minister, and it has no intention of giving Britain’s new leader a honeymoon period.

Truss appeared to irritate Russia’s leadership more than any other of the many foreign politicians who flew to Moscow at the start of this year in an effort to avert an invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described their conversation as like a dialogue between deaf and mute people, complaining that facts had “bounced off” her.

Then a Russian newspaper reported that Truss, during their meeting, had inadvertently told Lavrov that Britain would never recognise Moscow’s sovereignty over two Russian cities, Rostov and Voronezh, and had to be corrected by her ambassador.

The Kremlin seized on the error as an example of Western leaders being poorly informed. Britain dismissed that as propaganda and said Truss had simply misheard a question from Lavrov.

Russia also seized on a previous blunder by Truss, who got the Black and Baltic Seas mixed up, causing foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova to lament “the folly and incompetence of Anglo-Saxon politicians.”

Even though the weather was pleasant during her visit, the official publication criticized Truss for posing in a fur cap on Red Square like her role model Margaret Thatcher.

The open disdain for Truss in Moscow contrasts with the admiration that many Russians had for Thatcher, who was seen as a strong opponent and was given the nickname “Iron Lady,” which she accepted as a compliment.

  • Reuters