Boris Johnson tells Russians: ‘I do not believe this war is in your name’


Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images 

Boris Johnson has addressed a message directly to the people of Russia, saying in Russian: “I do not believe this war is in your name.”

In a video posted on social media, the prime minister also spoke in Ukrainian, after urging an end to the conflict “because the world needs a free and sovereign Ukraine”.

He said: “The scenes unfolding in the streets and fields of Ukraine are nothing short of a tragedy. Brave young soldiers and innocent civilians are being cut down, tanks are rumbling through towns and cities, missiles raining indiscriminately from the skies.

“It’s a generation or more since we witnessed such bloodshed in Europe. We hoped we would never have to see such sights again.”

On Friday the UK, US and the EU announced plans to impose personal sanctions on Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in response to the Russian assault on Ukraine.

As Ukrainians continued to flee across the borders, Johnson said he would be bringing forward measures “imminently”, while the White House and Brussels said they would freeze the assets of the two Russian leaders.

Britain said it was also extending a ban of Aeroflot flights landing in the UK to cover Russian private jets favoured by Moscow’s oligarchs.

The foreign secretary, Liz Truss, called Moscow “a global pariah”. “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and violation of the UN charter will have severe consequences,” she said.

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