Russia sanctions don’t go nearly far enough, says Sturgeon

The Prime Minister announced the ‘first barrage’ of sanctions on Tuesday.

Craig Paton
Tuesday 22 February 2022 16:27
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Peter Summers/PA)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Peter Summers/PA)

Sanctions on five Russian banks and three businessmen imposed by the UK Government don’t go far enough, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday the measures would be put in place as a result of Russian sending troops into the Donbas region of Ukraine under the guise of “peacekeepers”.

Three of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “cronies”, along with five Russian banks, were hit with sanctions, with Boris Johnson indicating there could be more to come.

The announcement by the Prime Minister just a short time ago do not, in my view, go nearly far enough

Nicola Sturgeon

Speaking in Holyrood, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The actions of Putin are utterly indefensible and he must face the most severe sanctions as a consequence of those actions.

“The announcement by the Prime Minister just a short time ago do not, in my view, go nearly far enough.

“He described the limited sanctions announced today as a first tranche, but I think it is essential that we see further tranches very soon with further sanctions imposed upon Putin and interests in Russia.”

The First Minister went on to say that all MSPs should “be united in standing in solidarity with Ukraine and with the people of Ukraine as they defend their independence, their sovereignty and their territorial integrity”.

Ms Sturgeon’s comments were echoed by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, who said “the situation in Ukraine is at the forefront of all of our minds”.

“For weeks we have seen a build up of activity and threats, but last night’s statement from President Putin provided in the starkest possible terms the reality of what Russia is seeking to do,” he added.

“We must stand together, supporting the UK Government, governments around Europe and across the world as they seek to deal with the current and future threats from Russia, but above all else we have to make it clear that we stand with the people of Ukraine.”

Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg – described by the Prime Minister as “cronies” of Russian President Vladimir Putin – were hit with a travel ban, the freezing of assets and a prohibition of British individuals and businesses dealing with them.

The banks Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank were also on the list, with further sanctions to be imposed on Russian politicians who vote in favour of the “independence” of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine.

The sanctions, the Prime Minister said, were part of a “first barrage” and a “much longer list” of oligarchs was under consideration.

Meanwhile, the Alba Party – led by former first minister Alex Salmond, whose TV show airs on Russian network RT – has been criticised after one of its MPs said Russia’s “security interests” must be considered in any resolution.

Neale Hanvey said: “The task is, as it has always been, how to ensure respect for Ukraine’s rights as an independent country including the recognition of the rights of the Russian speaking minority as stated in the Minsk accords.

“All of which has to be reconciled with Russia’s own security interests. That requires our acceptance that assurances were offered in the 1990s about Nato expansion eastward which have not been kept.

“The emphasis at this critical moment should be on de-escalation not escalation. At the end of the day conflict can only be resolved through dialogue and negotiation.”

In response, Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “I had hoped that Scottish MPs would be able to speak with one voice in calling out the invasion of Ukraine as an unjustified act of aggression.

“Sadly, the Alba party seem more concerned with the interests of the Russian military machine than they do the people of Ukraine who just want to live in peace.”

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