Vladimir Putin is a threat to Britain’s economy and the country must be prepared to take an “economic hit” by imposing sanctions to stop him, George Osborne has said.
Russia’s disregard for international borders and role in downing flight MH17 poses a risk to the economy that makes sanctions a necessary price to stop him.
Last night David Cameron told Putin in a “frank” phone call that his “cronies” will face further sanctions within days unless Russia withdraws its support for separatist fighters blamed for shooting down the Malaysia Airlines jet over Ukraine, killing 298 people including 10 Britons.
Russian billionaires close to Putin have started to panic, according to some business figures in Moscow. --
The asset freezes and travel bans could target large Russian companies listed on the London Stock Exchange such as Rosneft and Gazprom, the energy giants, as well as oligarchs who have supported Mr Putin. Britain will also push for arms deals to be halted, which could trigger conflict with France because it is selling warships to Russia.
Action against Russia’s elite is likely to harm investors, financiers and lawyers in the City of London where they do business, along with the real estate and luxury goods industries who count wealthy Russians among their clients.
The prospect of asset freezes and wider economic sanctions has left Russia’s business elite “in horror”, Igor Bunin the head of the Centre for Political Technology in Moscow, told Bloomberg news. However, they are terrified to speak out because of the threat of punishment. “Any sign of rebellion and they’ll be brought to their knees.”
Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as Prime Minister under Putin from 2000 to 2004, added: “The threat of sanctions against entire sectors of the economy is now very real and there are serious grounds for business to be afraid. If there will be sanctions against the entire financial sector, the economy will collapse in six months.”
Now we have to see, whether Putin´s de facto allies Germany and France will join in ...