"Get at Putin’s inner circle” – MP calls for tougher sanctions at home and abroad following Russian invasion of Ukraine

South Tyneside’s MPs have condemned Russian attacks on Ukraine following reports of a “full scale invasion”.

By James Harrison
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 6:02 pm

Tanks and troops are believed to have poured into the former Soviet state on the orders of Vladimir Putin overnight, with airstrikes launched against key targets, including the capital Kyiv.

In an address to the British public, Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “wanton and reckless aggression” and pledged Ukrainian freedom would not be “snuffed out”.

But as well as calling for tough sanctions deter further attacks in eastern Europe, South Shields MP demanded more efforts to tackle Russian influence in the UK.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24: Ukrainians demonstrate outside Downing Street against the recent invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 in London, England. Overnight, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels. European governments reacted with widespread condemnation and vows of more sanctions. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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“The sanctions need to get at Putin’s inner circle, the weak sanctions announced so far clearly haven’t worked - we’ve been too slow,” she said.

“Look at the Russian donations to the Tories, no matter how much they say it's above board, it doesn’t look good and it doesn’t look like there’s the political will to do what’s right.”

She added: “Russia has now started a war in Europe, I didn’t think I would see a war in Europe in my lifetime and if Putin gets away with this in Ukraine, where will he stop?”

Emma Lewell-Buck. Picture by FRANK REID

Leaders of the UK, US and other nations are reportedly preparing a package of sanctions to “hobble” the Russian economy in response to the attacks.

The Kremlin has claimed it is only targeting Ukrainian air bases and military assets, not populated areas, and denied claims it planned to occupy the whole of Ukraine.

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne said Russia must withdraw its troops “immediately” and called on Britain to become a “safe haven” for civilians affected by the conflict.

However, while President Putin has been urged to march his forces out of the country, some campaigners have called for a similar de-escalation by Westerm powers.

Kate Osborne

A spokesman for Stop the War North East said: “We call on Russian troops to be withdrawn, but we are also demanding our government stops sending troops and arms to the region, talking down diplomacy and whipping up tension.

“We also demanding an end to the NATO expansion that has done so much to stoke this crisis and a lowering of tension.”

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