The United Kingdom will impose “massive sanctions” designed to “hobble” the Russian economy, the country’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, pledged on Thursday following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.
In a pre-recorded address to the nation, Johnson stated that “our worst fears have now come true,” explaining that Putin had “unleashed war in our European continent” by attacking “a friendly country without any provocation and without any credible excuse.”
Johnson lamented the news already reported on by this site of numerous missile strikes and shelling being carried out across several Ukrainian cities on Thursday, with a number of fatalities having already been confirmed.
“A vast invasion is already underway by land, by sea and by air,” Johnson told Brits. “And this is not in the infamous some faraway country of which we know little,” he added, paraphrasing former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s radio address to the British public in reference to Adolf Hitler’s desire to reclaim Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland for Germany.
“We have Ukrainian friends in this country. Ukraine is a country that for decades has enjoyed freedom and democracy and the right to choose its own destiny. We and the world cannot allow that freedom just to be snuffed out,” Johnson said.
The U.K. prime minister vowed to impose “massive sanctions” designed to cripple the Russian economy, and called for collective action to “cease the dependence on Russian oil and gas that for too long has given Putin his grip on European politics.
“Our mission is clear,” Johnson continued. “Diplomatically, politically, economically, and eventually military, this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.”
In an attempt to appeal directly to the people of Russian, and to the “parents of Russian soldiers who will lose their lives,” Johnson stated that he could not believe “that this is being done in your name,” and urged Russians to condemn the behavior and actions of their political leader.
Johnson also directly addressed Ukrainians now immersed in conflict, saying that Britain stands with them and that “we are praying for you and your families, and we are on your side.
“If the months ahead are grim and the flame of freedom burns low, I know that it will blaze bright again in Ukraine.”