British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Thursday in an address to the nation that he and other leaders of western allies — including United States President Joe Biden — will agree to “a massive package of economic sanctions designed in time to hobble the Russian economy,” after Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, carried out an invasion on neighboring Ukraine on Wednesday night.
“Our worst fears have come true and all of our warnings have proved tragically accurate,” Johnson said. “Putin has unleashed war in our European continent. He’s attacked a friendly country without any provocation and without any credible excuse.
“Missiles and bombs have been raining down on an entirely innocent population. A vast invasion is underway by land, by sea, and by air. This is not in the phrase of ‘some faraway country in which we know so little.’ Ukraine is a country for decades that has enjoyed freedom, democracy, and the right to choose its own destiny. We as a world cannot allow that freedom just to be stomped out… We cannot just look away.”
Amongst those sanctions, European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that they “will freeze Russian assets in the European Union and stop the access of Russian banks to European financial markets.”
As of Thursday morning, at least 40 Ukrainians were declared dead after missiles rained down upon the country’s capital in Kyiv. Meanwhile, Russian troops crossed the borders of the eastern Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions. They also landed by sea in the ports of Odessa and Mariupol, located in the southern region of the country.
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Johnson tabbed the move as an “attack on democracy” around the world.
“Our mission is clear,” he explained. “Diplomatically, politically, economically, and eventually militarily, this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.”
While the west plans to crack down on the Russian economy, Putin has some leverage of his own. A majority of Europe is dependent on Russia’s production of fossil fuels. They are the largest exporter of oil, natural gas, and hard coal to the European Union. Countries like Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, and Finland see more than 75% of their imports of petroleum oils originate from Russia.
“We must collectively cease the dependence on Russian oil and gas that has too long given Putin his grip on western politics,” Johnson implored.
According to the Associated Press, world stock markets have tumbled and oil prices have jumped by nearly $6 per barrel directly following Putin’s invasion.