Boris Johnson must “cripple” Russia with stringent economic sanctions and freeze the country out from the global financial system, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.
Starmer said the west needs to make a “clean break with the failed approach to handling Putin” in the wake of the Russian President’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Johnson will announce a package of economic sanctions aimed against Russian companies and oligarchs linked to the Kremlin this afternoon, with the PM today saying the UK and its western allies would “agree a massive package of economic sanctions designed in time to hobble the Russian economy”.
Some MPs are calling for Russia to be completely blocked off from the global financial system – this would include things like barring businesses from using the Swift international payments system, stopping Russian firms from raising capital in major markets and banning the issuance of Russian sovereign debt.
Johnson also spoke this morning of Europe’s need to stop relying on Russian gas exports.
Speaking during an address to the nation this afternoon, Starmer said the UK must be prepared to “see economic pain as we free Europe from dependence on Russian gas and clean our institutions from money stolen from the Russian people”.
“We must make a clean break with the failed approach to handling Putin, which after Georgia, Crimea and Donbas fed his belief that the benefits of aggression outweigh the cost. We must finally show him he is wrong,” Starmer said.
“That means doing all we can to help Ukraine defend herself, urgently reinforcing and reassuring our Nato allies in eastern Europe and the hardest possible sanctions must be taken against the Putin regime.
“It must be isolated, its finances frozen, its ability to function crippled. For too long our country has been a safe-haven for the money that Putin and his fellow bandits gained by stealing from the Russian people. It must end now.”