Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has accused Liz Truss of coming “unprepared” to their meeting in Moscow, amid Western fears Vladimir Putin is plotting an invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a tense press conference with the UK foreign secretary on Thursday, Lavrov said the summit was like a “mute” talking to “a deaf person”.
And he accused Truss and British diplomats of “listening but not hearing”.
It came as Boris Johnson, on a visit to Nato HQ in Brussels, warned Europe is facing its biggest security crisis for decades.
He said UK intelligence painted a “grim” picture of Russian intentions. “We’re seeing the massing of huge numbers of tactical battalion groups on the borders of Ukraine,” he said.
The UK has put 1,000 troops on standby in case of a humanitarian crisis in the east if the current Russian military build-up leads to war in Ukraine.
Truss told the press conference the West “cannot ignore” attempts to “undermine Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
“Fundamentally, a war in Ukraine would be disastrous for the Russian and Ukrainian people, and for European security,” she said.
“There is still time for Russia to end its aggression towards Ukraine and pursue the path of diplomacy.
“But Nato is very clear that if that path is not chosen there will be severe consequences for Russia, Ukraine and the whole of Europe.”
Rejecting Truss’s call for forces to pull back, Lavrov said: “The demands to remove the Russian troops from the Russian territory cause regret. We don’t want to threaten anyone. It’s us who are facing threats.”