Boris Johnson calls Putin a 'bloodstained aggressor'
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With global powers imposing numerous punitive sanctions on Russia, as well as directly targeting both Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov, calls are being made to toughen the measures further. Although yet to be applied, pressure is mounting on removing Russia from the international banking transfer programme known as SWIFT.
Taking to Twitter to back up the Prime Minister’s push towards NATO members to remove Russia from SWIFT, Darren Grimes from GB News said:
“Thank you, Prime Minister. The right call. So much for Brexit Britain being a poodle of Russia, remember those totally nutty and unfounded conspiracy theories?”
The Tweet was a reply to Mr Johnson’s own message on the issue on Twitter.
Mr Johnson wrote: “This afternoon I urged NATO leaders to take immediate action against SWIFT to inflict maximum pain on President Putin and his regime.
“The UK will introduce sanctions against Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov imminently, on top of the sanctions package already announced.”
Mr Johnson set out Britain’s second tranche of sanctions against Russia in a statement to the House of Commons Thursday in which he pledged the measures will “constrain Russia’s military, industrial and technological capabilities for years to come.”
With immediate effect, the UK government has imposed an asset freeze against all major Russian banks, starting with VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank with assets totalling £154 billion.
They will be banned from accessing sterling and clearing payments through the UK.
About half of Russia’s trade is in dollars and sterling.
Sanctions imposed by Britain will have a significant impact on Mr Putin’s closest circles.
With numerous Russian oligarchs in London, the seizure of assets will no doubt damage Russian interests in Britain.
The UK named five oligarchs who will be added to the list of Russians banned from entering Britain and prohibited from doing business with UK firms.
According to Politico, Denis Bortnikov, deputy president and chairman of VTB; Kirill Shamalov, the ex-husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina; Petr Fradkov, chairman and chief executive of Promsvyazbank (sanctioned earlier this week); Elena Georgieva, chair of the board of Novikombank, which bankrolled Rostech; and Yury Slyusar, director of the United Aircraft Corporation.
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One diplomatic source said: “These people … come to Harrods to shop, they stay in our best hotels when they like, they send their children to our best public schools, and that is what’s being stopped.
“So that these people are essentially persona non grata in every major Western European capital in the world.
“That really bites.”
Additional legislation will limit the amount of money Russian nationals are able to hold in U.K. bank accounts, but the exact limit is yet to be defined.
It is also unclear whether dual Russian-British nationals would be impacted.
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Furthermore, in a tit-for-tat move, Britain has banned Russian airline Aeroflot for flying to Britain, a move that has seen British Airways given the same treatment by Russia.
On a wider scale, sanctions have hit sporting events.
St Petersburg has been removed from hosting the UEFA Champions League final, Sochi has lost the Russia F1, and Manchester United has terminated its contract with Aeroflot as their official carrier.
Furthermore, on a social scale, Russia has been banned from entering the Eurovision song contest.
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