Putin should be offered a way out to ‘save face’, former UK defence minister says


A former British Conservative defense secretary has suggested that Ukraine and its allies should try to offer Russian President Vladimir Putin something that “allows him to save face” while offering him a way out of the conflict.

Andrew Murrison spoke in the House of Commons during a parliamentary debate on the situation in Ukraine.

However, current defense secretary James Heappey said the Russian leader “deserves no further exit opportunities once he has made his decision on what to do next”.

dr Murrison, the MP for South West Wiltshire, was Defense Secretary between 2012 and 2014 and was most recently Foreign Office Secretary for just under a year until February 2020.

“Unless we want to defeat Russia classically – which is unlikely and desirable – there has to be a way out so that Putin can build a narrative that resonates with his people and the media he controls,” he told the Commons.

“It’s just not acceptable to say that we can’t offer Putin something that will allow him to save face and get away with whatever it is with his people.”

Mr Heappey replied: “I’m not sure I agree [Dr Murrison] fully. If Putin was looking for an exit, he had plenty of opportunities at a few points along the route to de-escalate and claim victory.

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“In the 48 hours immediately following the mobilization of Russian society, which is a clear escalation, I certainly will not – as a representative of His Majesty’s Government – stand here and say that he deserves more exit opportunities when he has made it.” his decision as to what should come next.”

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Elsewhere in the debate, Mr Heappey told MPs that Russia “does not have enough manpower on the ground to achieve any of its goals and that the mood in Moscow is changing rapidly”.

Beset by Mr Putin’s nuclear threats, Mr Heappey described it as “nuclear saber rattling” before noting that it is the “action of a desperate man who knows this is not going his way”.

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Asked if the UK believes Mr Putin is bluffing, the minister said: “The government’s precise intelligence assessment should not be shared in the House… we believe it is saber-rattling and we believe it aims to To put a wedge between the cohesion of the western alliance and to keep us from supporting Ukraine at the very moment when Ukrainian troops seem to have the upper hand.”

Asked about NATO’s response if Russia deploys any of its weapons, Mr Heappey said: “I will not discuss nuclear doctrine at the shipping box.”

Vladimir Putin says Russia will use ‘all means’ to defend territory – video

Later in the debate, former Conservative Secretary of Defense Liam Fox warned: “It may be saber-rattling – but it may not be. We have miscalculated with Putin before. We cannot afford to miscalculate again. He is a tyrant with tyrant behavior.”

Conservative former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in his first contribution to a debate since becoming a backbencher earlier this month, said: “I have no doubt that in the harsh winter months ahead, energy prices will continue to cause difficulties for people in this country and on the Around the world there will continue to be some who will wrongly conclude that Ukrainians need to be encouraged to strike a deal to trade land for peace so that Russian gas can flow to Europe.

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“Even if it were politically possible for Volodymyr Zelenskyy or any other Ukrainian government to make such a deal, which I very much doubt, there is absolutely no indication that Putin wants such a compromise or can be trusted to deliver it.”

Putin: Russia supports referendums in regions of Ukraine – video

After the debate, MEPs approved a number of proposals for new, tougher sanctions against Russia.

The sanctions include preventing exports of defense goods and technology, as well as chemicals, metals and fertilizers, and banning further British investments and services in Russia.

Secretary of State Jesse Norman told the House of Commons: “The measures we are debating today are designed to further isolate the Russian economy and target key industries that support President Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine.”

Updated September 22, 2022 at 11:19 p.m





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