Invasion of Ukraine: Boris urged to use ‘robust’ tools to target Putin’s henchmen | United Kingdom | News
But Keir Giles, a senior fellow in the Russia and Eurasia program at the Chatham House think tank, said the ‘weak’ package of measures unveiled by the Prime Minister yesterday did not go far enough – and said it was vital to target what he called “the Russian money problem in London”. Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said three people – Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and his nephew Igor Rotenberg – were all being sanctioned by the UK government.
In addition, five entities, including Russian banks, were also named.
However, critics including MP David Lammy were disappointed by the announcement, with the Shadow Foreign Secretary saying on Wednesday: ‘There is no point in tackling Russian aggression abroad , without doing anything to fight against Russian corruption at home.
“For a decade the Tories failed on this – worse, they allowed it.”
However, Mr Giles, responding to a question from Express.co.uk during a webinar hosted by Chatham House titled Russian-Ukrainian Crisis: Latest Developments, indicated that Timchenko, the sixth richest man in Russia, and Boris Rotenberg were actually EU citizens, having Finnish nationality.
Mr Giles, speaking hours before Russia launched a full-scale invasion of its neighbour, added: ‘The side effect of Brexit has been to free the UK from EU foreign policy, which which means they can actually sanction EU citizens, including those Russian decision makers close to President Putin.
“If this is indeed the case, this is a great way to leverage some of the benefits of Brexit to continue this more robust policy against Russia.”
“If the government thinks so, it must overcome resistance from enablers and parasitic industries, as well as from the highest levels of the Conservative Party.
“It has an effect – we see Russia shouting the loudest when personal wealth is threatened.”
Mr Giles also touched on suggestions that the West, including the UK, could offer aid to Ukrainian resistance movements in the event of a Russian occupation.
However, he cautioned: “It sounds attractive because it doesn’t look like it means directly confronting Russia, but we are concerned about the implications of that, given Russia’s 100% success in repression. such resistance movements in territories it occupied using medieval levels of savagery and inflicting terror on the civilian population.
“Yesterday Parliament’s Defense Select Committee said the UK and NATO should learn from this crisis and act sooner to support countries facing aggressive threats from larger neighbours.”
If Mr Putin is to be believed, he has so far been acting on his ideological beliefs in terms of his desire to rebuild the Russian empire, Mr Giles suggested.
He said: “The next targets for Russia will be the advanced countries of NATO and the EU
“Therefore, it is time to strengthen their defenses and that means conventional military defenses as well as all of its protection against sub-threshold and hybrid threats. Now is the time.
“If the UK is to care about its own defence, it must recognize that the current state and direction of UK travel is that ground forces are no deterrent to Russia.
“Ultimately, Russia feels able to act against Ukraine because of a failure of deterrence by the West as a whole.”