Russia: Johnson urged to impose stronger sanctions by Tugendhat
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Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat said UK sanctions against Russia should go “much further, much faster”. The Tory MP ondemned Russia’s “vile act of war” against Ukraine as he criticised the UK Government for imposing “weak” sanctions on Monday. He hit out at Boris Johnson’s Brexit arguments by reminding him of the sanction pledge.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Tugendhat said: “Many of us are calling for clout, not dribble as the royal artillery would put it which is to go in hard early to make it extremely clear what you’re going to do.
“The problem is Medvedev, the former President of Russia, said only the other day, ‘we know how sanctions work, they impose them, we ignore them and they come crawling back to us for the business anyway’.
“Weak sanctions like the ones we introduced on Monday just encourage others to believe we are weak because we’re clearly not willing to do anything serious.
“What that did is it didn’t deter but enouraged because it made clear that we weren’t willing to do anything serious.
“We need to do them extremely hard and extremely early and one of the reasons I was given for leaving the European Union is we could do independent sanctions – that’s what I was told by the then Foreign Secretary in 2018. Let’s see them!”
Mr Johnson has since vowed that Britain “cannot and will not just look away” from Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and pledged to unite with allies to respond with a massive package of sanctions designed to “hobble the Russian economy”.
In a televised statement at midday on Thursday, the Prime Minister said the world cannot stand by and allow the freedom of Ukraine to be “snuffed out”, as Moscow hit its neighbour with a wide-ranging attack, targeting cities and bases with air strikes or shelling.
“This act of wanton and reckless aggression is an attack not just on Ukraine, it’s an attack on democracy and freedom in eastern Europe and around the world,” Mr Johnson said from Downing Street.
Boris Johnson addresses nation on Russia's invasion of Ukraine
The Prime Minister criticised the Russian president for having “unleashed war in our European continent”, attacking Ukraine “without any provocation and without any credible excuse”.
Mr Johnson, who earlier chaired an emergency meeting of the Cobra committee, said: “Innumerable missiles and bombs have been raining down on an entirely innocent population.
“A vast invasion is under way by land, by sea and by air.
“We, and the world, cannot allow that freedom just to be snuffed out. We cannot and will not just look away.
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“Today in concert with our allies we will agree a massive package of economic sanctions designed in time to hobble the Russian economy.
“Diplomatically, politically, economically, and eventually, militarily, this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.”
Mr Johnson warned of the prospect of “grim” months to come before echoing an earlier address from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in speaking directly to the Russian public.
“I cannot believe this is being done in your name or that you really want the pariah status it will bring to the Putin regime,” the Prime Minister said.
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