Johnson announces fresh sanctions on Russia after Ukraine invasion

Britain to freeze the assets of Russian banks and 100 wealthy individuals and entities

Britain will freeze the assets of all major Russian banks and 100 wealthy individuals and entities as part of a fresh package of sanctions in response to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. The Russian carrier Aeroflot will be banned from landing in Britain and the export of some high-tech items to Russia will be banned.

Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that Mr Putin would stand condemned in the eyes of history and would never be able to "cleanse the blood of Ukraine" from his hands.

"Above all, the House will realise the hard and heavy truth that we now live in a continent where an expansionist power, deploying one of the world's most formidable machines, is trying to redraw the map of Europe in blood and conquer an independent state by force of arms," the prime minister said.

"And it's vital for the safety of every nation that Putin's squalid venture should ultimately fail and be seen to fail. However long it takes, that will be the steadfast and unflinching goal of the United Kingdom, I hope of every member of this House and everyone of our great allies. Certain that together we have the power and the will to defend the cause of peace and justice as we have always done."

Mr Johnson was woken up at 4am with news of the Russian invasion and spoke with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy shortly afterwards. In the House of Commons later, however, the prime minister declined to endorse the Ukrainian president’s call for a no-fly zone over his country.

“We would face the risk of having to shoot down Russian planes and that is something that I think the House would want to contemplate with caution,” he said.

Mr Johnson faced criticism earlier this week for the weakness of his first batch of sanctions but he said the latest measures were co-ordinated with other countries. Much of the focus of the latest batch of sanctions is on the wealthy Russians close to Mr Putin who have long used Britain as their playground.

“These are people who have international lifestyles,” a diplomatic source said.

“They come to Harrods to shop, they stay in our best hotels when they like, they send their children to our best public schools, and that is what’s being stopped. So that these people are essentially persona non grata in every major western European capital in the world. That really bites.”

Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, called on the prime minister to go further by targeting those who enabled Mr Putin's economy.

“May I ask him to look here, close to home at those who enable, who propagate the propaganda that is being used by Putin to undermine his own people and free people everywhere, and to update the Treason Act so that we can identify them and call them what they are: traitors,” he said.