Boris Johnson: Sanctions should intensify until all Russian troops leave Ukraine
British prime minister tells MPs Putin is not to be trusted.
LONDON — The G7 should intensify sanctions against Russia until all Russian troops have left Ukraine, the British prime minister said.
Boris Johnson told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that the public should not expect the G7 group of the world’s seven most industrialized democracies to lift sanctions “simply because there has been a cease-fire in Ukraine,” adding that doing so “goes straight into [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s playbook.”
The British government’s view is that the U.K. and its allies should “continue to intensify sanctions with a rolling program until every single one of his troops is out of Ukraine,” Johnson said.
The prime minister was taking questions on a variety of topics during a hearing of the House of Commons liaison committee.
Johnson’s position appears to be more hard-line than that of other allies. U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said Tuesday sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine are designed to drive a behavioral change in Moscow, and could be “reversed” when allies conclude Russia’s “behavior has changed.”
Asked for his opinion on the multiple attempts by French President Emmanuel Macron to engage with Putin in order to try to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis, Johnson replied that the question of the value of these attempts “is an open one.”
“My own view is Putin is plainly not to be trusted,” he added.
Johnson also said NATO members will need to rethink the support offered to countries like Ukraine in the longer term.
“There’s going to come a point where I think we should recognize that this has happened and that we, I hope, will be in a position with willing partners to offer not an Article 5 security guarantee to Ukraine [which would require NATO members to retaliate if Ukraine was attacked again], but a different kind of future, a different kind of commitment,” he said. “So that Ukraine is so fortified and so protected — the quills of the porcupine have become so stiff — that it is ever after indigestible to Putin.”