‘Sanction Putin himself!’ Tory MP urges Boris Johnson to punish Russian President

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Speaking to LBC, the Conservative MP said it was time to start sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin. Referencing the Magnitsky Act the Tory MP said sanctions should be used “more actively” to help target individuals who have been “part of Putin’s mafia regime”. 

Asked whether sanctions should be used against the Russian President himself, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee replied: “Yes. We are exactly at that point.

“We’re dealing with a regime that is not a government in the usual sense of the term.

“Putin himself is one of the richest men in the world.

“He has probable assets of somewhere close to billion dollars.

“He’s stolen off the Russian people and he’s effectively treating an entire country as his own private fiefdom.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has called on overseas allies to work together to support an investigation into the “utterly deplorable” alleged Novichok poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Mr Raab held talks on Thursday with German foreign minister Heiko Maas during which the pair agreed the need for Russia to explain what happened.

It comes after Downing Street warned there would be “severe consequences” for the people behind the attack – and did not rule out sanctions or the fresh expulsions of diplomats.

Mr Raab said on Twitter that the poisoning of Mr Navalny was “utterly deplorable and a violation of international law”.

“Have just spoken with (German) FM HeikoMaas – we agreed that (Russian) gov must explain what happened and international partners must work together to support an investigation into this attack.”

Boris Johnson has described the suspected deployment of the same chemical weapon used in the 2018 Salisbury poisonings as “outrageous” and vowed to ensure “justice is done”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman, pressed on whether sanctions could be imposed on Russia or diplomats expelled, did not explicitly blame Moscow and said he would not “pre-empt what might happen next”.

He said the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would play a key role in investigating what he described as an “attempted murder” and said the UK had offered support to the German investigation.

Mr Johnson and his Foreign Secretary also met US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner and, although the conversation was centred on the Middle East, it was likely Mr Navalny was discussed.

The opposition politician and corruption investigator fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on August 20 before being transferred to Berlin. The 44-year-old remains on a ventilator in intensive care.

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Britain has long accused Russian operatives of using the Soviet-era poison on Sergei Skripal, the former double agent targeted in the 2018 attack in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

In response, Mr Johnson as foreign secretary helped corral a wave of expulsions of Russian diplomats across the EU and US after Britain told 23 envoys to leave.

Mr Skripal and daughter Yulia were two of five people exposed to the substance in Wiltshire, both spending weeks in hospital recovering.

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Mr Navalny was the victim of “attempted murder by poisoning” with Novichok and added that the aim was to “silence” the opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has asked one of its regional branches in Siberia to probe the possibility that someone tried to murder Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the RIA news agency reported on Friday.

Russia has until now not opened a criminal investigation and said there is no evidence yet of a crime.

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