“Unprecedented” sanctions against Russia can still overturn president Vladimir Putin’s move to invade Ukraine, Foreign Office minister James Cleverly has said.
While rejecting fears that Putin has already anticipated penalties being imposed by Western countries, Cleverly insisted the West’s sanctions will have “a meaningful impact”, according to The Independent.
“Even if Vladimir Putin doesn’t care, the people around him will feel this – and they absolutely do care,” he said.
He added sanctions will “hopefully persuade people around Vladimir Putin that this is completely the wrong thing to do and he should reverse this attack”.
Cleverly joins senior Tories in seemingly attacking Putin’s mental state
Cleverly has seemingly joined Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and prime minister Boris Johnson in attacking Putin’s mental state – by saying the Russian president has a “Tsarist fantasy”.
Wallace has sparked hundreds of reactions after saying Putin has gone “full tonto” after he launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The Spanish word, which means “dumb”, was used as he claimed the British Army “kicked the backside of Tsar Nicholas I in 1853 in Crimea” and claimed “we can always do it again”.
Whilst addressing serving military personnel in Westminster, the Cabinet minister said Putin has made the mistake of having no allies in his current moves.
“It’s going to be a busy Army,” Wallace said, adding: “Unfortunately we’ve got a busy adversary now in Putin, who has gone full tonto.
“Tsar Nicholas I made the same mistake Putin did… he had no friends, no alliances.”
Wallace’s attack of Putin’s mental state comes after prime minister Boris Johnson also accused the Russian president of being “in an illogical and irrational frame of mind”, according to the Daily Mail.
UK’s position on getting involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict
After Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky warned the attack on his country “could be the beginning of a big war” in Europe and appealed for help, Cleverly reinforced that UK troops will not be sent to Ukraine.
But he said: “We will, of course, give support to the Ukrainians in their own self-defence.”
“We will be bringing forward, in close concert with our international friends and allies, an unprecedented, coordinated sanction response to punish this appalling decision,” he told Sky News.
Meanwhile, Putin has warned the West against interfering in the conflict.
“To anyone who would consider interfering from the outside – if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history,” the Russian president said in a TV broadcast around 6am Moscow time, according to the Daily Mail.
Putin described the invasion as a “special military occupation” with the purpose of “demilitarising” and “de-Nazifying” Ukraine, rather than occupying it.