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22 September, 2022 | 01:55 AM

UN: UK's Truss slams Putin, hails Queen

UN: UK's Truss slams Putin, hails Queen
British Prime Minister Liz Truss has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of making "sabre-rattling threats" to cover his failed invasion of Ukraine, as she told the United Nations that its founding principles were fracturing because of aggression by authoritarian states. In her debut speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday night, Truss called the war in Ukraine a battle for "our values and the security of the whole world," and extolled the late Queen Elizabeth II as a symbol of everything the UN stands for. Responding to a statement from Putin that he was mobilising reservists and would use everything at his disposal to protect Russia -- an apparent reference to his nuclear arsenal --Truss accused the Russian leader of "desperately trying to justify his catastrophic failures". "He is doubling down by sending even more reservists to a terrible fate," she said. "He is desperately trying to claim the mantle of democracy for a regime without human rights or freedoms. And he is making yet more bogus claims and sabre-rattling threats." "This will not work. The international alliance is strong -- Ukraine is strong," said Truss, who addressed the UN on the same day Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke to the global gathering by video. In a speech outlining her view of foreign policy in a world turned upside down by Russia's invasion, Truss spoke of the Queen, whose funeral on Monday was attended by many of the world leaders now gathered at the UN. She said the Queen "symbolised the postwar values on which this organisation was founded" and that the monarch, who died this month after 70 years on the throne, "transcended difference and healed division". In her first international speech since becoming prime minister two weeks ago, Truss hailed the founding principles of the United Nations, while calling for new international alliances to circumvent the influence of authoritarian regimes. She said "geopolitics is entering a new era" in which "authoritarian states are undermining stability and security around the world". That was a direct shot at Russia -- and also at China, whose growing clout among developing nations is a major concern for the United States and its allies. Truss said the world's democratic powers must woo developing nations with "strategic ties based on mutual benefit and trust" rather than "exerting influence through debt, aggression, and taking control of critical infrastructure and minerals." She also called for a toughening of the West's response to Russia's invasion. She urged sanctions on Russia and said "the G7 and our like-minded partners should act as an economic NATO," supporting countries targeted by "the economic aggression of authoritarian regimes". She urged nations to find alternatives to Russian oil and gas and protect supply chains for everything from food to minerals. "The free world needs this economic strength and resilience to push back against authoritarian aggression and win this new era of strategic competition," Truss said. Sign up for our emails