Boris Johnson has insisted that if Vladimir Putin doubles down “then so shall we,” as he praised the “extraordinary fortitude” of the Ukrainian people.
The Prime Minister pledged that the UK would increase the economic pressure on Russia, as well as providing further support to Ukraine, if Putin does so.
His comments came after MPs gave a standing ovation to the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, who was in attendance in the Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions.
Addressing Parliament, Johnson also announced the launch of a Ukraine appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, with every pound donated by the British people matched by the UK Government, starting at £20m.
“Putin has gravely miscalculated; in his abhorrent assault on a sovereign nation, he has underestimated the extraordinary fortitude of the Ukrainian people and the unity and resolve of the free world in standing up to his barbarism,” the Prime Minister told the Commons.
“The UN General Assembly will vote later today and we call on every nation to join us in condemning Russia and demanding that Putin turns his tanks around.
“If instead Putin doubles down then so shall we, further ratcheting up economic pressure and supporting Ukraine with finance, with weapons and with humanitarian assistance.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer hailed the bravery of Russian protesters.
He added: “They remind us that the Russian people are not our enemy, they are the victims of thieves who have stolen their wealth and stolen their chance of democracy.
“For too long Britain has been a safe haven for stolen money. Putin thinks we’re too corrupted to do the right thing and put an end to it.”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford called Vladimir Putin a “war criminal”.
“With every passing hour the world is witnessing the horrors of Putin’s war in Ukraine,” said Blackford.
“In Kherson, a family of five – a mother, her parents, her 6-year-old daughter and her baby son – were murdered in cold blood by Russian troops.
“In the same city – a 12-year-old boy watched his mother die as he desperately attempted to save her from the rubble of their own home.
“These war crimes are happening in Europe right now – Vladimir Putin is a war criminal.
“And one day soon Putin must face justice in The Hague.”
Blackford insisted that the UK should sign up to the ‘crime of aggression’ in order to tackle Putin.
He said: “To prosecute Putin and his regime, the full range of war crime charges needs to be used – including the ‘crime of aggression’ by a state.
“But the UK has always refused to sign up to the prosecution of this crime in international law.
“Surely with Putin’s crimes of aggression in plain and horrific sight in Ukraine, now is the right time to drop that opposition.”
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