UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has unveiled new sanctions against Russia, as he said the West should consider ways to stop Russia from using its gold reserves to prop up the Rouble.
Boris Johnson’s comments came as the UK announced sanctions on 65 more groups and individuals, including a private military firm and a major Russian Bank. Speaking ahead of NATO’s summit, the Prime Minister intimated that the UK and the West must “tighten the economic vice” on Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Johnson’s viewpoint suggested that Russia crossed “red lines” by targeting Ukrainian civilians and tough steps now could help shorten the war. In addition to the new raft of financial sanctions, the UK government announced plans to send 6,000 more missiles to Ukraine.
Leaders from NATO, the European Union, and the G7 are holding emergency meetings in Brussels to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
On Thursday, March 24, 2022, NATO announced the creation of new battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, while Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, joined the meeting through a virtual address to urge the Bloc to increase its supply of military equipment.
Ahead of the talks, Mr. Johnson said by deliberately bombing civilian centres, Putin “already crossed the red line into barbarism”.
“We’ve got to step up. We’ve got to increase our support. We’ve got to tighten the economic vice around Putin, sanctioning more people today, as we are, sanctioning the Wagner Group, looking at what we can do to stop Putin using his gold reserves.”UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson
In an interview with a British based media firm, he added that “We need to do more economically”.
“Can we do more to stop him [Putin] using his gold reserves, for instance, in addition to his cash reserves? The more pressure we apply now, particularly on things like gold, I believe the more we can shorten the war … And then we need to do more to give the Ukrainians military support.”UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson
As Mr. Putin’s invasion on Ukraine continues, the Russian Central Bank has deployed some of its $640bn war chest of currency and gold reserves to prop up the Russian Rouble.
The Wagner Group, a private military firm thought to function as an arms-length unit of the Russian Military, is among the 65 entities hit by new sanctions announced by the UK Government on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
Other targeted firms include Gazprombank, Russia’s third-largest bank and one of the main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas, and the State-run shipping firm, Sovcomflot.
The reported step-daughter of Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, Polina Kovaleva, who is thought to own a London property worth an estimated £4million, is also targeted by the sanctions.
Ukraine’s Call on NATO
During the Brussels meeting, Mr. Zelenskyy, in his speech to NATO Leaders, called on them to give or sell Ukraine more tanks and anti-aircraft defence systems.
“I don’t want to blame Nato. I understand, this is not you. These are not your missiles or bombs which are destroying our cities. I simply want you to know the alliance still can prevent Ukrainian deaths… by providing us all the munitions we are asking for.”Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy
By far, the UK has already sent 4,000 anti-tank weapons, but will now send another 3,000, plus a similar number of what Downing Street described as “high explosive missiles”.
The Prime Minister is also expected to set out plans to offer more help to Ukraine with intelligence and longer-range combat. Ukrainian officials indicated this week that the country’s Armed Forces have the equipment they need to stop tanks at short range, but needed more that would help them do the same over longer distances.
The UK will also send an additional £25m in aid to help Ukraine pay the salaries of its Armed Forces. Already, the Ukraine Government has received £400m in humanitarian and economic aid from the UK and neighbouring nations since Russia’s invasion.