Thank you to those who contacted me about the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin, enabled by Belarus, has unleashed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by land, sea and air. This is a premeditated and unprovoked attack, barbaric in execution, on a sovereign democratic state. I stand with the Ukrainian people and their President, whose defiance, courage and patriotism in the face of foreign aggression is inspiring.
I commend the leadership shown by the Prime Minister, explicitly acknowledged by President Zelenskyy, in encouraging the world to support Ukraine with military aid and isolate Russia for its illegal invasion, including through the imposition of sanctions aimed at crippling its economy and war machine. In lockstep with allies around the world, the UK has:
Sanctioned more than 1,000 people and over 100 businesses since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Sanctioned Russia's Central Bank, banned the Russian State and all Russian companies from raising funds in the UK, frozen the assets of 18 Russian banks, and removed them from the SWIFT international payments system.
Worked to prevent Russia from obtaining financing from the leading multilateral financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Imposed billions of pounds worth of trade sanctions on Russia and Belarus.
Taken action to end all imports of Russian coal and oil by end of 2022, and end imports of gas as soon as possible thereafter.
Banned Russian aircraft from flying or landing in the UK and banned their ships from our ports.
Supported international sporting boycotts against Russia and Belarus.
Extended a Crimea-type embargo to occupied territory in the breakaway Ukrainian republics.
Passed new urgent legislation giving Government new powers to crack down on corrupt elites in the UK.
To be clear, these internationally coordinated measures collectively amount to the biggest, most devastating package of sanctions imposed against a single country in history. All the government's sanctions announcements in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are collected here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-sanctions-following-russia….
At the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting on 12 May, the Foreign Secretary reaffirmed the UK's position on sanctions – namely, that they must remain in place until there is a complete Russian withdrawal and peace is agreed. I welcome that the UK has, for many years now, worked to support Ukraine's security and defence. The UK has, for instance, trained over 22,000 members of the Ukrainian army through Operation ORBITAL since 2015. At the request of the Ukrainian Government, the UK was the first European country to start sending lethal aid to Ukraine, and the Defence Secretary has played a key role in convening the donation and delivery of military aid from other nations.
In his address to the Ukrainian Parliament on 3 May, the Prime Minister announced a new £300m package of military assistance to Ukraine. This follows the extensive support already committed, including armoured vehicles, thousands of anti-tank, anti-air and anti-ship missiles as well as non-lethal equipment.
The Prime Minister is in regular contact with President Zelenskyy and has repeatedly affirmed the UK's staunch support for Ukraine's position in ongoing peace talks with Russia. The extensive package of military support for Ukraine provided by the UK and allies, together with the crippling sanctions imposed on Russia in order to degrade its ability to sustain the invasion, is aimed at strengthening Zelenskyy's hand in these talks. Any outcome, of course, must be completely on Ukraine’s terms. The UK is also at the forefront of efforts to provide the Ukrainian people with the humanitarian support they need. The UK has now committed £220m of humanitarian assistance to save lives and protect vulnerable people inside Ukraine and in neighbouring countries. This includes over £74m to UN and Red Cross Agencies and £25m in matched funding to the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal. For more detail, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-governments-humanitarian-….
The UK is crystal clear that Putin cannot commit these horrific acts with impunity and has led efforts to refer his regime's atrocities in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the primary institution with the mandate to investigate and prosecute war crimes. The referral by the UK and others means the ICC Prosecutor can now proceed straight to an investigation. The UK is providing funding and expertise to the ICC to support its investigation.
Members of the UN Human Rights Council are expected to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and the protection of human rights". It is clear that Russia's actions in Ukraine fall far short of that standard. As such, it is right that the UN General Assembly voted by a two-thirds majority to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. The UK and G7 had been pushing for this outcome.
The Prime Minister has said that nothing is off the table when it comes to the UK's support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and indeed the desire of its people to live in peace, democracy and free from foreign bullying. Putin must fail.
I am assured that the UK Government, standing alongside our friends in Ukraine and allies around the world, using all possible means at its disposal, is urgently engaged in ensuring he does. I am following these efforts closely.