Public Enemy No 1: Kremlin Says UK Prime Minister Winning ‘The Race to Be Anti-Russian’

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Moscow has accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of being the most “active participant” in the “race to be anti-Russian” and warned on Thursday that this stance “will lead to a foreign policy dead-end”.

Britain imposed many sanctions on Russia, targeting over 1,000 Moscow-linked individuals and businesses since the 24th of February when Russia invaded Ukraine.

“These oligarchs, businesses, and hired thugs are complicit in the murder of innocent civilians and it is right that they pay the price. Putin should be under no illusions – we are united with our allies and will keep tightening the screw on the Russian economy to help ensure he fails in Ukraine. There will be no let-up,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said.

Russians have invested £8 billion ($10.5 billion) in the British property market alone, and senior Kremlin-linked individuals have previously bought prominent British assets such as Chelsea football club, so the sanctions may hit some major players in the pocket.

The Johnson government has also delivered and pledged weapons to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky repeatedly, with the latest shipment including 6,000 missiles, The Independent reports.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to illustrate the mood towards Britain in Moscow by revealing that “as for Mr Johnson, we see him as the most active participant in the race to be anti-Russian. It will lead to a foreign policy dead-end”.

Johnson has since rubbished the accusation and claimed that he is “not remotely anti-Russian”, joking at a NATO press conference that he is “probably the only Prime Minister in UK history to be called Boris.”

The Prime Minister insisted that while he is “deeply hostile to the decisions of Vladimir Putin” he is “sympathetic towards ordinary Russians, who are being so badly led.”

“But I think what we all agree is that what Vladimir Putin is doing, the way he’s leading Russia at the moment, is utterly catastrophic, that his invasion of Ukraine is inhuman and barbaric,” Johnson asserted.

A spokesman for Johnson has further said that “the Prime Minister is among the most active anti-Putin leaders. We have no issue with the Russian people. In fact, we’ve seen many bravely protest — not least Alexei Navalny — against Putin’s regime, and call on them to cease this war.”

“We are among the world leaders that have been most proactive when it comes to taking steps to both defend Ukraine’s interest and up pressure on Putin to change course,” the spokesman added.

Johnson’s push for a tough stance with Russia has however placed him at odds with other members of NATO. Following Zelensky’s request for NATO to provide hundreds of tanks and jets to Ukraine yesterday, Johnson called for NATO nations nearer to Ukraine to help provide these vehicles to the Ukrainian army.

This was met with opposition from France’s President Emmanuel Macron, who branded NATO giving tanks and planes to Ukraine as a “red line” and warned that NATO should remain impartial and not become “co-belligerent”.

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, has said NATO will continue to increase shipments of weapons and other military equipment to Ukraine but declined to comment on whether this would include tanks.

Zelensky has warned NATO that, “Russia wants to move on. Against eastern members of NATO, the Baltic states and certainly against Poland”.

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