Response to letter from Minister for Europe UK

Dear Valery Tsepkalo,

Thank you for your correspondence of 27 March to the Prime Minister about Belarus. I am replying as the Minister for Europe.

The nuclear rhetoric and signalling that we have seen from Russia is irresponsible. It is designed to distract and deter us from supporting Ukraine. No other country has raised the prospect of nuclear use. No country is threatening Russia or threatening President Putin. As the G7 has made clear, any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in this conflict would be met with severe consequences. We continue to call on Russia to de-escalate, starting by ceasing its illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

During the debate in the UN Security Council on 31 March, we reminded the Council that no other country has raised the prospect of nuclear use in this conflict, no one is threatening Russia’s sovereignty: it is Russia who has violated the UN Charter by invading another sovereign country. President Putin’s announcement on 25 March is his latest attempt to intimidate and coerce. This has not worked and will not work. We will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself.

The UK has consistently played a leading role in seeking to mobilise the international community’s response to Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, including in multilateral fora. We continue to work closely with our international partners to condemn and hold Russia to account for its appalling actions – this is an important part of maintaining pressure on the Russian Government. The General Assembly has met and voted overwhelmingly to condemn Russia’s invasion on five occasions - most recently on 23 February this year. This is a clear sign that Putin is isolated on the international stage.

We condemn the role the Belarusian regime is playing in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We have made this clear repeatedly in both bilateral and multilateral settings. The Lukashenko regime must cease its support for Russia's illegal invasion and respect Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, in line with their international obligations.

As noted in our letter (TO2023/05226) of 9 March, we condemn the Lukashenko regime’s ongoing assault on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Belarus. The regime must immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, and we take every opportunity in public and multilateral fora to urge them to do this.

Yours ever,

Leo Docherty

MP Minister for Europe