Ukraine-Russia: Boris Johnson vows to ‘tighten the vice’ on Vladimir Putin and warns world can never back to 'status quo' after invasion

Boris Johnson has vowed to “tighten the vice” on Vladimir Putin and warned the world can never go back to the “status quo” of before the Russian invasion.

The Prime Minister criticised the Russian president for his “utterly repugnant” invasion of Ukraine as he announced a further £175 million in aid for the besieged country.

The commitment came as foreign secretary Liz Truss admitted the West was slow to act over the invasion and called for Nato to spend more on defence.

The Prime Minister made the announcement after hosting a press conference with his counterparts Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and Justin Trudeau of Canada, where he accused Mr Putin of launching an “all-out onslaught on centres of habitation”.

(Left to right) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte outside 10 Downing Street, London. Picture: PA

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Mr Johnson said: “We are going to continue to work with colleagues to ensure that we tighten the vice around President Putin’s regime.

“What is happening now is that the President of Russia is doubling down.

“He has decided that he is going to continue with an all-out onslaught on centres of habitation in a way that we think is utterly repugnant.

“It’s clear that we are going to have to do more.

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“I do think that the world is clearly changing and I think that what we can’t do post the invasion of Ukraine is assume we can go back to a status quo … a kind of new normalisation in the way that we did after the invasion of Crimea in 2014, or the seizure of Crimea and the Donbas area.

“We’ve got to recognise that things have changed and that we need a new focus on our collective security."

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Mr Johnson hailed the “heroic” Ukrainian resistance against the invasion, with his announcement taking the UK’s support to £400m.

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He continued: “After 12 days, it’s already clear that Putin has made a miscalculation.

“He has underestimated the Ukrainians, their heroic resistance, he has underestimated their leader, and he has underestimated the unity of the West.

“We will continue as colleagues to do everything we can to strengthen that unity in the days ahead to ensure that Putin fails in this catastrophic invasion of Ukraine.”

The Prime Minister also announced a new “International Ukraine Support Group” with the Netherlands and Canada, to provide “sustained support” for Ukraine.

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He said: "As Ukrainians resist Russia’s onslaught with courage and tenacity, the international community must aid their struggle in every way we can.

“We will only succeed if the whole international community moves together with the same spirit of unity we have seen in recent days.

“To aid these efforts, today the UK is joining our Dutch and Canadian friends to mobilise more practical and sustained support for Ukraine.

“Our new ‘International Ukraine Support Group’ will co-ordinate the efforts of the international community to provide long term, and unwavering, assistance now and in the future. And we will be encouraging more countries to join us.

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“This is the moment for Ukraine’s friends to create a coalition of humanitarian, economic and defensive military support to ensure that Putin fails.

Mr Trudeau said Canada was imposing new sanctions on ten individuals in relation to the invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking following talks at Downing Street, he said: “This includes former and current senior government officials, oligarchs and supporters of the Russian leadership.

“The names of these individuals come from a list compiled by jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.”

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Mr Rutte said the Netherlands was prepared to consider “all possible sanctions”, but they must not generate “unmanageable risks” to energy supply in Europe.

The Prime Minister also refused to rule out a boycott of Russian oil and gas, saying it was “very much on the table”.

Over the weekend, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said Washington was in “very active discussions” with countries in Europe over banning imports of Russian oil.

Mr Johnson said: “I don’t think Tony Blinken was wrong in the sense that we are all together now moving very, very fast and seeing that something that, perhaps three or four weeks ago, we would never have considered is now very much on the table.

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“We have to consider how we can all move away as fast as possible from dependence, reliance, on Russian hydrocarbons, Russian oil and gas.

“Everybody is doing that, everybody is on the same journey. Some countries will find it faster and easier than others, that’s all.

“But we’re going to do it together and we are going to work together on making sure that we all have the substitutes and the supplies that we need.”

Monday also saw the third round of talks between Russia and Ukraine begin. Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak has urged Russia to halt attacks on civilians.

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Russian shelling is preventing civilians from evacuating despite a promise to create safe escape routes.

Ukraine's deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk branded Russian proposals "unacceptable", with safe passage only offered to Russia itself or to its ally Belarus.

More than 1.7 million Ukrainians have fled so far, and Mr Johnson has promised to be "very generous" to those trying to come to Britain.

Earlier Ms Truss told the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee that Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine had “shattered the security architecture of Europe”.

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Admitting the West was too slow to react, she said: “The reality is President Putin did not take the threats of deterrence seriously enough.

“I think post-Cold War, the West took its eye off the ball.

“Defence budgets were cut, there was too much entering into trade and economic relationships without understanding the underlying strategic dependency that would lead to.

"What we have to do now is we have to strengthen Nato. We particularly have to strengthen the eastern flank.

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“We have to be serious about defence spending, right across Nato.”

The Commons also heard people smuggling gangs “roaming around Calais” could seek to exploit Ukrainian refugees hoping to reach the UK.

Home secretary Priti Patel told MPs there was a need to avoid creating “choke points” in Calais and instead “encourage a smooth flow of people”, as concerns were raised over Ukrainians being turned away from the French port city.

She confirmed a visa application centre (VAC) has been created en-route to Calais rather than at the port.

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Ms Patel also told MPs the “first quality-assured” figures on the Ukrainian family visa scheme would be released on Monday evening after dismissing her own departments figures after it said just 50 had been approved.

She said: “The figures that are public are absolutely inaccurate and they have not been assured by the Home Office.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer labelled the Home Office a “complete mess”.

He said: “They have got to sort this out … there should be a simple route to sanctuary for those that are fleeing for their lives.”

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