Johnson says Russian actions close to ‘genocide’ as UK imposes new sanctions

Britain joined the United States and the EU in announcing a fresh wave of economic measures against the regime in Moscow.

06 April 2022

Boris Johnson has said the actions of Russian forces in Ukraine appeared close to “genocide” as Britain and other Western allies unveiled sweeping new sanctions against the regime in Moscow.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK was freezing the assets of Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, and Credit Bank of Moscow, banning all new investment in Russia and targeting eight more oligarchs.

Ahead of the announcement of the Government energy security strategy on Thursday, she said Britain would end all imports of Russian coal as well as oil by the end of the year.

The announcement coincided with a parallel move against Sberbank by the US which is also sanctioning Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters, Mariya Putina and Katerina Tikhonova, and other members of the Russian elite.

Earlier the European Commission set out proposals for a fifth round of sanctions, including a ban on coal imports, for approval by EU ambassadors.

The moves follows an international wave of revulsion over reported atrocities committed by Russian forces in Bucha and other towns around Kyiv which have been recaptured by the Ukrainians as the Russians pull back.

Ukrainian officials said they had found the bodies of at least 410 civilians, some reported shot with their hands tied behind their backs.

There have also been reports of women being raped by Russian soldiers in front of their children.

Speaking during a visit to a hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Mr Johnson said: “I’m afraid, when you look at what’s happening in Bucha, the revelations that we are seeing from what Putin has done in Ukraine, which doesn’t look far short of genocide to me, it is no wonder people are responding in the way that they are.”

Western officials warned such atrocities may be “widespread” pointing to the “toxic information climate” in Russia with calls for the “de-nazification” of Ukraine, with former president Dmitri Medvedev, still a close ally of Mr Putin likening it to the Third Reich.

“When you combine that with a force which is failing and failing badly in an operation for which it was perhaps psychologically underprepared, it just a toxic mix,” one official said.

“The responsibility for this lies with the perpetrators of the acts but it also lies with the Russian leadership. Not only did they order the invasion, they set the tone and the context for this operation as well.”

(PA Graphics)

Ms Truss said the latest UK measures amounted to “some of our toughest sanctions yet” and were “decimating Putin’s war machine”.

“Together with our allies, we are showing the Russian elite that they cannot wash their hands of the atrocities committed on Putin’s orders.

“We will not rest until Ukraine prevails,” she said.

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