The UK’s Russia sanctions didn’t live up to the hype – 23 responses that are stronger than the measures

Oonagh Keating. Updated February 23rd, 2022

In response to Russia’s blatant invasion of Ukraine under the banner of sending in ‘peacekeeping forces’ to protect Donetsk and Luhansk, countries and regions have launched a range of sanctions.

Germany was first off the blocks when it pressed pause on the highly lucrative Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which may well prove to be very useful leverage in any future negotiations.

The EU swiftly got agreement from its members for a very punishing range of sanctions. They announced a ban on all Russian bond trades and any commercial exchanges with the two disputed areas, as well as a travel ban on almost 400 individuals and a widespread freeze of Russian assets.

The US took a similar approach, with President Biden commenting –

‘Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on the territory that belonged to his neighbors?

This is a flagrant violation of international law, and it demands a firm response from the international community.’

While those and others, such as Japan and Australia, pulled no punches, the UK was far more lenient.

After warning that any Russian escalation of its intimidation tactics against Ukraine would trigger an extremely puntiive set of sanctions, the UK’s response was definitely a damp squib.

Barely a slap on the wrist. Boris Johnson talked the talk, while the walk draped itself across a bench like Jacob Rees-Mogg after a heavy lunch.

MPs on both sides of the House immediately called for greater sanctions, perhaps taking as tough a stance as removing Russia’s PS5 privileges or not letting them borrow the car.

They weren’t the only ones feeling underwhelmed, with some wondering whether the Conservative government’s well-documented links with Russian oligarchs and their money – including fundraising tennis matches with the PM – might have affected the measures.

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