Nicola Sturgeon joins growing calls for tougher sanctions on Russia over Ukraine invasion

Nicola Sturgeon has said Russia should face “the most severe sanctions” following the invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement issued on Tuesday the First Minister said Boris Johnson’s announcement of limited measures against five banks and three named oligarchs “do not, in my view, go nearly far enough.”

Sturgeon said: “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 said the Scottish government “unreservedly” condemned Russia’s actions which, she said, are a “flagrant violation of international law and which further destabilise an already volatile situation .”

She added: “We offer our unqualified support for Ukrainian independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and to the people of Ukraine. We stand with members of the international community in opposing Russian aggression, in demanding the most severe sanctions on Russia and in seeking to deter a further and wider invasion of Ukraine.”

Three Russians – Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg – who were described by the Prime Minister as “cronies” of 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 due to be imposed on Russian politicians who vote in favour of the “independence” of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine.

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.”

In the Commons debate on Ukraine sanctions, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford also condemned the invasion as “warmongering” and joined a cross-party calls from former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, Lib Dem Ed Davey and Labour’s Chris Bryant for harsher sanctions.

Blackford, who has been a furious critic of the Prime Minister over the partygate scandal, made a point of calling a halt to political hostilities when it came to the Ukraine.

He told the Commons: “How we know collectively respond define the days to come. This chamber, especially during recent months, has seen fierce debate and disagreements.“

“But today, I think it’s important in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine, that in this House that we all stand together, stand together and stand with our partners across Europe and indeed across the globe.”

Blackford said “Russia has effectively annexed another two Ukrainian regions in a blatant breach of international law. It is a further violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

“No one should even repeat the Russian lie that this is about peacekeeping. This is warmongering, plain and simple.”

As opposition and Tory MPs demanded harsher measures against Putin’s inner circle, Downing Street rejected suggestions that the sanctions announced by Britain targeting Russian oligarchs and banks would have little effect.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the measures set out in the by Boris Johnson would have a “real impact” on the Russian economy.

“This only beginning. This is only the first tranche of sanctions we could introduce,” the spokesman said.

“The actions we have take together with our Nato allies do create a much more hostile atmosphere for individuals and for banks and will have a real impact on the economic situation in Russia.

“We believe that these are the right measures to introduce now in the light of the actions taken overnight by President Putin.”

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