Boris Johnson has just outlined a series of further sanctions on Russia. They are considerably more substantial than the ones he announced earlier this week. They exclude Russian banks from the UK financial system, bar Russian firms from raising capital in London and will see the UK join the US’s technology sanctions on Russia. However, Russia will not be cut off from the Swift payments system — it is clear that the UK has, sadly, lost the argument on that for now. This does raise the question of what, if not the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country, would be enough to lead to Russia being cut off from Swift.
In answers to questions about whether the UK would support a government in exile, Johnson said that he had told the Ukrainian president that it may be necessary for him and his cabinet to move to a safer place. He also did say in response to a query from Stephen Crabb that sanctions on Russia would cause economic pain here.
But Johnson should be far more upfront on this point. These sanctions will need to be toughened further if they are to affect Russia’s behaviour, and that means they will undoubtedly cause economic pain here. But that pain is the price we must pay for standing up for democratic values.
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