LONDON: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said Western powers should tighten the economic noose around Russia until it withdraws all its soldiers from Ukraine.
At a hearing in parliament, Johnson told MPs that to lift G7 sanctions simply in return for a Russian ceasefire in Ukraine would go “straight into (Vladimir) Putin’s playbook”.
“My view is we should intensify sanctions with a rolling programme until every single one of his troops is out of Ukraine,” he said.
Johnson said also that the government in London was looking at “going up a gear” in its military aid to Ukraine.
He said that could include the provision of armoured personnel carriers, to help its forces break out of the besieged city of Mariupol.
Following peace talks this week in Turkey between Ukraine and Russia, reports suggested the UK, France and the United States could sign up to guarantee Ukraine’s security in return for a Russian pullout.
Johnson ruled out giving Ukraine the equivalent of NATO’s Article Five, which says an attack on one member is an attack on all.
But Ukraine could benefit from a different security concept “based on the idea of deterrence by denial”, he said.
Ukraine would be armed so much with Western aid, and “the quills of the porcupine have become so stiffened, that it is ever-after indigestible to Putin”.
“That is the path we are on,” he told the MPs, while also defending the pace of the UK visa programme to bring over Ukrainians fleeing the fighting.
The prime minister meanwhile said he understood US President Joe Biden’s frustration when he said last week that Putin could not stay in power.
But Johnson stressed that regime change in Moscow is “not the objective of the UK government”.
“We are simply setting out to help protect the people of Ukraine and protect them from absolutely barbaric and unreasonable violence.”