Cameron: Putin needs to get the message - he's turned Russia a pariah state

28 March 2022, 09:21 | Updated: 28 March 2022, 10:56

David Cameron said Boris Johnson is doing the 'right things' regarding Ukraine and that Putin has made Russia 'a pariah state'
David Cameron said Boris Johnson is doing the 'right things' regarding Ukraine and that Putin has made Russia 'a pariah state'. Picture: LBC

By Asher McShane

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has told LBC Vladimir Putin needs to be sent a message that he has turned his Russia into a pariah state.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari, Mr Cameron, who was PM from 2010-2016, said it was vital that the Russian president got the message from government that he had "turned your country into a pariah state and we're going to treat you that way."

He said he sympathised with the "difficult circumstances" that Boris Johnson has faced coming from the Covid-19 pandemic into the war in Ukraine. He said Mr Johnson has a "very difficult job and there has been no respite" between Covid and Ukraine.

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He added that Mr Johnson is doing he’s doing "his best in very difficult circumstances and has got my support."

When asked him Boris Johnson was "doing a good job," Mr Cameron said: "On this, he is doing the right things. Giving aid militarily to Ukraine, helping on humanitarian aid, helping on refugees, helping on sanctions. Bringing together the unity of the West. These are the right steps.

"Ultimately we are pursuing the right course."

Last week the government announced a new round of sanctions against Russian "entities and individuals deemed to be "fuelling (Vladimir) Putin's war machine".

Sanctions were levelled at banks, shipping firms and oil tycoons. Mr Johnson also met with NATO leaders in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the conflict in Ukraine, including how to respond if Moscow deploys chemical weapons.

The Foreign Office said a total of 1,000 fresh sanctions have been handed out since the invasion begun, with the new round including Russian billionaire Eugene Shvidler and Galina Danilchenko, who was installed by Moscow as the mayor of occupied Melitopol in south-east Ukraine. They also targeted the step-daughter of Putin's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Britain's response in particular appeared to be riling Mr Putin.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by the state-owned RIA news agency as saying: "As for Mr Johnson, we see him as the most active participant in the race to be anti-Russian.

"It will lead to a foreign policy dead end."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman firmly denied Mr Johnson being "anti-Russian".

"The Prime Minister is among the most active anti-Putin leaders," he said.

"We have no issue with the Russian people and in fact we have seen many bravely protest - not least (jailed opposition leader) Alexei Navalny - against Putin's regime and call on them to cease this war," the spokesman said.

Mr Johnson gave an interview with LBC last week where he said he wants to go after Russia's gold reserves in his bid to tighten the screws on Moscow, saying Putin has already crossed a red line by bombing civilians.

He also praised Volodymyr Zelenskyy as "one of the most extraordinary war leaders of recent times."

Six more banks were among those being sanctioned with asset freezes and travel bans, as was one of the world's largest diamond producer Alrosa, and Polina Kovaleva, the stepdaughter of Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: "These oligarchs, businesses and hired thugs are complicit in the murder of innocent civilians and it is right that they pay the price.

"Putin should be under no illusions - we are united with our allies and will keep tightening the screw on the Russian economy to help ensure he fails in Ukraine. There will be no let-up".

Britain has already sent more than 4,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, including next-generation light anti-tank weapons systems (Nlaws) and Javelin missiles.

It is also supplying and training Ukrainian troops in the use of Starstreak high-velocity anti-air missiles as well as providing body armour, helmets and combat boots.

The Government also announced new support for the International Criminal Court (ICC).