The UK is today unleashing a “flurry” of sanctions on Russia for moving tanks into Ukraine ahead of a “full-scale invasion”.
Boris Johnson hit Vladimir Putin’s “pals” with a package of beatings in connection with the economic punishment unveiled this lunchtime in the House of Commons.
Russia sent troops to two separatist regions of Ukraine[/caption]
Sanctions will target three super-rich oligarchs close to the Kremlin — Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg.
Mr Johnson said: “Any assets they hold in the UK will be frozen, persons concerned will be prohibited from entering here and we will prohibit all UK individuals and entities from doing business with them.
Also, five Russian banks fell under the sanctions – Russia, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and Chernomorsky Bank.
The foreign ministry said the sanctions regime would hit “oligarchs in Putin’s inner circle and banks that funded Russia’s occupation of Crimea.”
Mr Johnson said: “This is the first tranche, the first flurry of what we are ready to do: we will keep in readiness further sanctions to be deployed along with the United States and the European Union if the situation escalates further.”
But Mr Johnson has faced calls to go much “further and stronger” amid worries that the sanctions have not gone far enough.
In key developments:
- Johnson suggested Russia to deprive the Champions League final
- The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to an emergency meeting
- Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers warned Russian invasion “already started”
- Liz Truss told all Britons still in Ukraine to get out now and bolstered support in the region.
- United States withdrew embassy staff from Kiev as the situation worsens
As he chaired a pre-dawn Cobra meeting to address the escalation of the crisis, the prime minister warned that the saber-rattling Vladimir Putin was obsessed with the invasion.
He said it was incomprehensible that “in 2022, a national leader could calmly and deliberately plan to destroy a peaceful neighbor.
“But the evidence from his own words suggests that this is exactly what he does.”
He said the Kremlin’s aggressor has “completely destroyed international law” and the West will crush its economy “with all its might.”
Conservative MPs urged Johnson to go much further than the current sanctions.
Former Minister Mark Harper asked for assurances that Mr. Johnson will take “further and stronger action, even if President Putin does not take more.”
Former Tory leader Sir Ian Duncan Smith suggested that Russia should be hit “hard and hit now” to add to the pain of the current invasion.
Mr Johnson responded: “I think it’s inevitable, given what’s going on in Ukraine and on Ukraine’s borders, that we’ll put forward a much larger package of sanctions.”
Putin received another blow in the gut this morning when Germany shut off the multi-billion dollar Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
And Mr. Johnson has proposed depriving Russia of the opportunity to host the Champions League final in May.
He said: “From the reaction of the world to what it has already done in Donbas, it is clear that as a result of the sanctions, it will remain with poorer Russia.
“A Russia that is more isolated, a Russia that has pariah status, has no chance of hosting a football tournament in a Russia that is invading sovereign countries.”
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The prime minister said the Kremlin had “seriously miscalculated” about Ukraine’s resolve to fight the invasion.
He spoke to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky last night and promised a swift and decisive response to Moscow.
Today the Minister of Health called Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops to two self-proclaimed regions “A very dark day in Europe.”
And he said the current escalation was “as serious” as the Cuban missile crisis at the height of the Cold War.
“WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH”
Sajid Javid said, “He sent tanks and troops. From this we can conclude that the invasion of Ukraine has begun.”
He confirmed that today’s COBRA meeting will discuss the possibility of sending additional military assistance to Ukraine, such as weapons.
And he promised: “We will apply the most targeted sanctions possible to those responsible for this egregious violation of international law.
“I am sure that close contacts with the Russian regime will be targeted, as will certain sectors of the economy.
“Words are not enough. Putin has decided he prefers confrontation. We have always said that we will act.
“This is a violation of international law and we and NATO will not accept it.”
THEY ARE COMING
Russian tanks are on the way after Putin reportedly ordered troops into Ukraine and hired medics to prepare for the “bloodshed”.
Videos received by Al Jazeera show Russian military equipment in two self-proclaimed regions of eastern Ukraine.
Last night, the Kremlin recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, effectively annexing them to Russia.
There were growing fears that Moscow was now ready to move beyond rebel-held pockets to wrest more territory from Ukraine.
Russian MP Leonid Kalashnikov said that Russia recognizes the entire Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and not just those areas currently under rebel control.
As tensions escalated, Ukraine said two of its soldiers were killed and 12 wounded in heavy shelling overnight.
shock new Russian forces in terminator style were seen in Makiivka, in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.
The Kremlin troops and tanks also rolled into the neighboring Lugansk People’s Republic under the guise of “peacekeepers”.
Celebration fireworks were set off and Russian flags fluttered after Putin’s announcement of recognition of both the previous evening.
Eyewitnesses spotted huge columns of troops moving through Donetsk towards Yasynuvata before he had finished his hawkish and belligerent speech.
Sources later clarified that witnesses could not be certain that the troops they saw were Russian.
But Yasinovataya is only nine miles from the 250-mile World War I-style “contact line” of trenches that has separated Ukrainian and pro-Russian separatists for the past eight years.
The President signed decrees to the parliament, according to which Russia became the first country in the world to recognize the two mini-states he created as a result of the seizure of land in 2014.
The last paragraph of his order to Parliament stated that he orders Russian armed forces to “ensure peacekeeping on the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.”
In further disturbing developments It was also reported that the Russian parliament is adopting plans to build military bases. in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk – and stay for 10 years.
US ordered its embassy staff to leave Ukraine immediately after the revelations. US officials said warnings had been sent to Russia’s political opponents on the Kremlin’s kill-or-catch list.
And the citizens of Ukraine say they will take up arms and “fight to the death” to defend your country.