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.
Germany has announced it is canceling the new $10bn Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) February 22, 2022
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.
Wow! EU sanctions Russian sovereign debt. This adds to German halt of Nord Stream 2. And for good measure EU sanctions 351 Russian “lawmakers” who voted to recognize DNR & LNR https://t.co/NnXQbFxiSH
— Paul Massaro (@apmassaro3) February 22, 2022
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.
BREAKING: The UK is sanctioning 5 Russian banks (Rossiya Bank, IS bank, General Bank, Promsviazbank, Black Sea bank) and 3 oligarchs: Igor and Boris Rotenberg, and Gennadiy Timchenko. Pretty tipid if you ask me. The oligarchs have been on the US sanctions list since 2018
— Bill Browder (@Billbrowder) February 22, 2022
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.
Vladimir Putin has violated Ukrainian sovereignty and international law.
We will immediately institute a package of sanctions targeting Russian economic interests.
It’s absolutely vital that the conquest of a European country should not succeed and that Putin should fail. pic.twitter.com/ojccvMWqtY
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 22, 2022
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.
Plenty of MPs, including some Tours, are making it obvious in the Commons they don’t think the UK sanctions match the PM’s rhetoric and don’t go far enough
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) February 22, 2022
Is that it?
Sanctioning 5 banks and 3 oligarchs suggests the Government cares more about protecting Tory party donations and London’s laundromat than it does about imposing meaningful sanctions against Moscow#Ukrainecrisis
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) February 22, 2022
Govt sanctions on Putin/Russia must go further and harder. We need ‘supranational’ sanctions, working with our allies to cut off supplies of money so they feel the pain. We must hear them ‘squeal’ when we hit them with sanctions not smile quietly saying ‘we won’t go any further’. pic.twitter.com/pORwgntGfY
— Iain Duncan Smith MP (@MPIainDS) February 22, 2022
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.
Scholz – after not declaring how hard he’d go, immediately pulls plug on Nordstream 2. Johnson – after talking tough for days, makes sure none of his Russian donors, tennis auction partners and ennobled sons of KGB hit by painfully weak sanctions. Reckon 🇷🇺 has something on him?
— ALASTAIR CAMPBELL (@campbellclaret) February 22, 2022
That’s a sanction… not 3 people and 5 Banks🙄 https://t.co/KvUT96JllB
— Deborah Meaden 💙 (@DeborahMeaden) February 22, 2022
Our sanctions against Russia have two very clear aims – to maintain the flow of Russian cash into the Conservative Party and to maintain the flow of Russian cash into the Conservative Party.
— Parody Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson_MP) February 22, 2022
Depiction of the sanctions Boris Johnson has placed on the Putin regime: pic.twitter.com/BRoWMCS6zz
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) February 22, 2022
‘I’ve placed sanctions on three tuna fish’ pic.twitter.com/rPlQB4ZUaO
— Toby Earle (@TobyonTV) February 22, 2022
I’m minded of the ancient Russian proverb:
He who talks the toughest, sanctions the weakest.
— THE SECRET TORY 🗽 (@secrettory12) February 22, 2022
Downing Street announces further sanctions on Russian state including reducing the maximum number of library books they can borrow from ten to six.
— Michael Glasper (@michaelglasper) February 22, 2022
Let’s face it, they’re much better at organising parties than they are at implementing sufficient sanctions.
— Gary Burton (@TheOfficialGRB) February 22, 2022
I can’t help thinking that UK sanctions will only affect the poor in Russia, and not the people who pay money to the Tory party to play tennis and have lunch with ministers.
— Tony Schumacher (@tonyshoey) February 22, 2022
No major oligarchs based in the UK have been affected by Monday’s announcements: wouldn’t want to bite the hand that feeds, after all. https://t.co/byAMyKHzl7
— Jo Maugham (@JolyonMaugham) February 22, 2022
Johnson’s barrage of sanctions in full:
– no Russian will be allowed to interfere in more than one EU Referendum
– no Russian buying a tennis match with the PM will be allowed to serve first
– no Russian donating to the Tory Party will be allowed seconds at the donors’ dinner.
— Keith Burge (@carryonkeith) February 22, 2022