Boris Johnson Slaps Sanctions On Russian Banks And Individuals Over Ukraine Crisis

The PM said the deployment of troops to Donetsk and Luhansk represented a 'renewed invasion' of Ukraine.
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Boris Johnson has slapped sanctions on five Russian banks and three “high net wealth” individuals amid fears over a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The prime minister described Russian troops sent into the Donbas region under the guise of “peacekeepers” as a “renewed invasion” of Ukraine.

It comes after Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree that recognised the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the Donbas as independent states.

Johnson accused Putin of having “flagrantly violated” the Minsk peace agreement reached after the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

He told the Commons: “The House should be in no doubt that the deployment of these forces in sovereign Ukrainian territory amounts to a renewed invasion of that country.

“And by denying Ukraine’s legitimacy as a state and presenting its very existence as a mortal threat to Russia, Putin is establishing the pretext for a full-scale offensive.”

Johnson said the sanctions would apply to Rossiya Bank, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank.

Meanwhile, the assets of Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg will be frozen as part of the reprisals.

“Any assets they hold in the UK will be frozen, the individuals concerned will be banned from travelling here and we will prohibit all UK individuals and entities from having any dealings with them,” Johnson said.

“This the first tranche, the first barrage of what we are prepared to do and we hold further sanctions at readiness to be deployed.”

A number of Conservative MPs welcomed Johnson’s words but urged him to go further with sanctions and to increase defence spending.

Conservative former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said Putin would have already “predicted and discounted western sanctions long ago”.

“So does he agree that if we are not to be behind in the diplomatic chess game, we need to do some things that he is not expecting?” he asked.

Meanwhile, former veterans minister Johnny Mercer asked the prime minister to “keep an eye on that defence spending to make sure that if we are asked we can hold a line and we could lead Nato in the way that I know he wants to”.

Their concerns were echoed by Labour leader Keir Starmer, who said “we must be prepared to go further” with punitive measures against Moscow.

He said that while he understood the tactic of holding back sanctions to try to deter a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, “a threshold has already been breached”.

“If we do not respond with the full set of sanctions now Putin will once again take away the message that the benefits of aggression outweigh the costs,” he said.

The Labour leader said Russia should be excluded from financial mechanisms such as Swift, trading in Russian sovereign debt should be banned, and that TV channel Russia Today should be prevented from “broadcasting its propaganda around the world”.

Elsewhere in his speech, Johnson said his fellow MPs would struggle to understand how in 2022 a national leader might “calmly and deliberately plot the destruction of a peaceful neighbour”.

“Yet the evidence of his own words suggest that is exactly what president Putin is doing,” he added.

Johnson said we must “brace ourselves” for the next possible stages of Putin’s plan, adding: “The violent subversion of areas of eastern Ukraine by Russian operatives and their hirelings followed by a general offensive by the nearly 200,000 Russian troops gathered on the frontiers at peak readiness to attack.”

In a speech on Monday night, Putin vented a long list of grievances as he described Ukraine as an integral part of Russia’s history. He said eastern Ukraine was ancient Russian lands and after the Soviet collapse was used by the West to contain Russia.

Johnson said that through his “single inflammatory speech”, Putin had “denied that Ukraine had any tradition of genuine statehood, claimed that it posed a direct threat to the security of Russia and hurled numerous other false accusations and aspersions”.

Earlier today, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrew Kelin, was told his country would “pay the price for its actions” after being summoned to the Foreign Office.

“The UK has urged Russia to explain its recognition of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic and the movement of military forces into Ukraine,” a spokesman said.

“We have summoned the ambassador today to stress that such actions are a violation of international law.

“The UK reiterates its unshakeable commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine, and insists that Russia immediately withdraw all of its military forces.

“We made clear to the Russian ambassador that Russia would pay the price for its actions through further sanctions if it did not withdraw its troops.”


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