PM promises sanctions to cripple Russian economy after ‘barbaric’ attack on Ukraine
The UK and its allies will impose sanctions to cripple the Russian economy following Vladimir Putin’s “barbaric” assault on Ukraine.
Boris Johnson has promised a “massive” package of economic measures in tandem with the United States and the European Union after the Russian president finally launched the dreaded invasion weeks ago.
In a somber address to the nation, the prime minister said the world could not sit idly by and allow Ukraine’s freedom to be “stifled” as Moscow hit its neighbor with a full-scale attack, targeting cities and bases with airstrikes or bombardment.
“This act of wanton and reckless aggression is not just an attack on Ukraine, it is an attack on democracy and freedom in Eastern Europe and around the world,” Mr Johnson said since then. Downing Street.
A “vast invasion” was launched by land, sea and air and “countless missiles and bombs rained down on an entirely innocent population”, he said.
Mr Johnson was woken by news of the invasion overnight and spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shortly after 4am.
The Prime Minister said: “Today, together with our allies, we will agree on a massive set of economic sanctions designed in time to hamper the Russian economy.
“Diplomatically, politically, economically and, eventually, militarily, this hideous and barbaric enterprise of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.”
The Prime Minister, US President Joe Biden and other leaders of the G7 countries were holding a virtual meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss their next actions.
Mr Johnson warned of the prospect of “dark” months ahead, before echoing an earlier address by Mr Zelensky by addressing the Russian public directly.
“I can’t believe this is being done in your name or that you really want the pariah status this will bring to Putin’s regime,” the prime minister said.
Mr Zelensky declared martial law and called on Ukrainians to volunteer to fight for their country.
“We will give arms to all those who want to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities,” he said.
In other developments:
– Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrei Kelin, has been summoned to the Foreign Office for the second time in a week to report on the ‘unlawful and unprovoked invasion’.
– Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has asked the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that airlines avoid Ukrainian airspace “after the horrific events of the night” and carriers have begun to suspend their flights.
– Stock markets around the world crashed and oil prices soared to levels not seen in eight years due to the crisis.
– RAF Typhoons had pledged to patrol the airspace on the borders of NATO members Poland and Romania with Ukraine.
– Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for the ‘toughest possible sanctions’ against Mr Putin’s ‘rogue regime’.
The Kremlin said it only targeted Ukrainian airbases and other military assets, not populated areas.
But Western officials fear an attack on the capital kyiv could lead to bloody urban warfare, putting civilian lives at risk.
In a televised address, Mr Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere in Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen”.
He said Russia had no intention of occupying Ukraine and claimed that the responsibility for the bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime”.
Explosions were heard in kyiv moments later, while blasts were also reported in the cities of Odessa and Kharkiv.
A Defense Ministry intelligence update shortly after 12:30 p.m. said there had been more than 80 strikes on Ukrainian targets, as ground forces advanced across the border from at least three points, including from previously annexed Crimea.
Early targets included Ukrainian air defenses, designed to ensure Russian air superiority in the conflict.
Reports suggested that Russian troops had captured an airport on the outskirts of kyiv.
Western officials have reported forces coming from Belarus, where they have participated in large-scale exercises, and from Russian-occupied Crimea.
They are also said to have settled in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, where Mr Putin recognized the two separatist “republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Officials say it is unclear whether he intends to take over the whole country.
However, they believe his targets include Kyiv and the port city of Odessa, as well as joining Crimea, which he seized in 2014, with Donbass.
Ukrainian forces put up resistance, with reports that at least one Russian warplane was shot down.
However, analysts believe the combination of air superiority, precision munitions and artillery firepower gives Moscow’s forces a marked military advantage.
The prospect of an assault on kyiv, a city of more than 2.8 million people, raises particular concerns.
In the past, such as in the Chechen capital Grozny, Russian forces have shown they are ready to use overwhelming firepower if they cannot reach their objectives quickly, which could result in large-scale civilian casualties.