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Western allies ramp up rhetoric against Russia, want to see ‘defeat’ of Moscow

Washington wants “a strategic defeat of Russia” in Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith said on Friday.

“We want to see a strategic defeat for Russia. We want Russia to leave Ukraine, we want Russia to stop the violence, stop these indiscriminate brutal attacks on civilians,” Smith said during the think tank-led Strategic Ark conference in Warsaw.

The rhetoric against Moscow is also being ramped up on the other side of the Atlantic, with U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin “must lose in Ukraine.”

Speaking on Thursday to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, in remarks that were published on Friday, she was asked about French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments on not “humiliating Putin” and whether the West should offer Putin a way out.

“I don’t agree with this idea of an exit ramp. Putin must lose in Ukraine and we must see its sovereignty and territorial integrity restored, on this we are very clear,” Truss said.

She added: “We are not looking for regime change, but we must make sure that Russia is no longer capable of committing these acts of aggression.”

She said that the U.K. is “working with all of Europe so that Putin loses in Ukraine and to help the Ukrainians to prevail.” Victory means that Russia leaves all the territory it has invaded, and Putin and Russia must be brought to justice for war crimes, she said.

Western countries are also strengthening their relationships with Indo-Pacific nations, amid Beijing’s deepening ties with Moscow. Last week, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen paid a visit to Japan and portrayed the country as a like-minded partner in the region.

Asked whether the U.S. is able to offer defense support in both the Indo-Pacific region and in Ukraine, Smith said that Washington could “walk and chew gum at the same time.” Joe Biden is on his first trip to Asia as U.S. president, arriving on Friday in South Korea before heading to Japan in a bid to reinforce partnerships in the region.

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