UK to impose 'most severe' sanctions on Russia, says Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson updating MPs in the House of Commons on the latest situation regarding

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the UK will impose the most severe sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has announced the United Kingdom will issue Russia with the “largest and most severe” package of sanctions it has ever faced, in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

New measures will be placed on more Russian oligarchs and there will be asset freezes on banks and defence companies, the prime minister told the House of Commons on Thursday, February 24.

“[Vladimir] Putin will stand condemned in the eyes of the world and of history. He will never be able to cleanse the blood of Ukraine from his hands,”  Mr Johnson said.

He added: "Now we see him for what he is – a bloodstained aggressor who believes in imperial conquest."

Mr Johnson said the measures were “the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen”, but vowed to go further.

He said: "We will continue on a remorseless mission to squeeze Russia from the global economy piece by piece, day by day and week by week."

As part of the new sanctions, all major Russian banks will have their assets frozen and will be excluded from the UK financial system, preventing them from accessing sterling and clearing payments in the UK.

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Legislation will also be drafted to stop major Russian companies and the state from raising finance or borrowing money on UK markets.

The UK will freeze the assets of 100 new individuals and entities.

Aeroflot airline will be banned from landing in the UK.

The Prime Minister is also pushing to cut Russia out of the 'Swift' system - a type of international bank sort code - after renewed calls from Labour leader Keir Starmer.

Proponents of the move say excluding Russian banks from the system will have a huge impact on their ability to operate abroad.

The Swift system is set up to make it possible for people or companies to take payments by card or electronically even if they do not use the same bank.