PM: West must end Russian ‘grip’ on politics by ending dependence on Putin’s oil

Boris Johnson was working to rally European leaders after Moscow began an invasion of Ukraine.

24 February 2022

Boris Johnson is rallying European leaders to sever the dependence on Russian oil that has given Vladimir Putin a “grip” on Western politics in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

The Prime Minister was working with allies on Thursday to create a “massive” package of sanctions that will “hobble the Russia economy”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer braced the UK for the “sacrifice to defend democracy” of “economic pain” as oil prices soar and dodgy Russian money is flushed out of banks.

Mr Johnson praised Germany’s decision to finally block the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, which is expected to deliver a major economic blow to Moscow.

He also held talks with Jonas Store, the Prime Minister of Norway, which is one of the world’s biggest oil and gas exporters.

In a televised address to the nation, Mr Johnson said: “Today, in concert with our allies, we will agree a massive package of economic sanctions designed in time to hobble the Russian economy.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer braced the UK for economic pain (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“And to that end, we must also collectively cease the dependence on Russian oil and gas that for too long has given Putin his grip on Western politics.”

Sir Keir called for the toughest possible sanctions against the regime to see “its ability to function crippled”, while the UK must no longer be a “safe-haven” for the loot of the Russian president and “his fellow bandits”.

Warning the British public, the Labour leader added: “We must prepare ourselves for difficulties here. We will see economic pain as we free Europe from dependence on Russian gas and clean our institutions from money stolen from the Russian people.

“But the British public have always been willing to make sacrifice to defend democracy on our continent, and we will again.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Oil prices jumped following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Russia beginning what is believed to be a full-scale invasion of Ukraine sent oil prices soaring to levels not seen in eight years, while UK gas prices shot up by a third.

Mr Johnson shared a call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, during which he thanked him for the suspension to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline but added that “allies must now make a concerted effort to bring the strongest possible sanctions to bear on the Putin regime”.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister and Mr Store “agreed on the need for continued co-ordination on economic measures to ensure they have maximum impact” during their call.

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