Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine to end the ongoing conflict in the eastern European country could be a “smokescreen” for more extreme military manoeuvres by Russia, the UK fears.

In an interview with The Times on Saturday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss voiced her concerns about the ongoing ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine.

“I’m very sceptical. What we’ve seen is an attempt to create space for the Russians to regroup. Their invasion isn’t going according to plan,” Truss told The Times.

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“I fear the negotiation is yet another attempt to create a diversion and create a smokescreen. I don’t think we’re yet at a point for negotiation,” the 46-year-old added.

Truss’ comments came hours after the Russian defence ministry confirmed the first-ever use of Moscow’s new nuclear-capable hypersonic air-to-ground ballistic missile, the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal, against an underground Ukrainian ammunition depot in the village of Deliatyn in the Ivano-Frankivsk region.

The British Foreign Secretary’s comments also echoed concerns voiced by British Defence Intelligence chief Sir James Hockenhull on Friday.

“The Kremlin has so far failed to achieve its original objectives. It has been surprised by the scale and ferocity of Ukrainian resistance and has been bedevilled with problems of its own making,” the Lieutenant General said on Friday.

“Russia is now pursuing a strategy of attrition. This will involve the reckless and indiscriminate use of firepower. This will result in increased civilian casualties, destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure and intensify the humanitarian crisis,” the 57-year-old Defence Intelligence chief added.

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Indeed, it would seem that the aforementioned concerns are not baseless.

Ground reports from war-torn Ukraine suggest that Russia has intensified its offensive in the eastern European country, and has carried out indiscriminate shelling in various parts of Ukraine, killing hundreds of civilians in the process.

Since the invasion began, Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russian forces of war crimes, and several international investigations have been launched to find evidence of the same.