‘Unprecedented’ sanctions can still reverse Ukraine invasion, UK minister insists

“Unprecedented” sanctions that will hit Russia hard can still reverse Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, a Foreign Office minister has insisted.

James Cleverly dismissed fears that the Russian president has priced in Western sanctions – arguing the rouble is already collapsing, which will also have “a meaningful impact”.

Ahead of further sanctions being announced – following an emergency Cobra meeting in Downing Street – Mr Cleverly said the invasion was unfolding as the UK had “predicted”.

On sanctions, he said they would “hopefully persuade people around Vladimir Putin that this is completely the wrong thing to do and he should reverse this attack”.

“Even if Vladimir Putin doesn’t care, the people around him will feel this – and they absolutely do care,” the minister argued.

Mr Cleverly spoke after Russian forces launched an overnight military assault on Ukraine in four regions, with reports of missile strikes in major cities.

Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, warned it “could be the beginning of a big war on the European continent” and appealed for help, after declaring a state of emergency.

The minister again made clear that UK troops will not be sent to Ukraine, which is not a member of Nato.

“We will, of course, give support to the Ukrainians in their own self-defence,” Mr Cleverly said.

And he told Sky News: “We will be bringing forward, in close concert with our international friends and allies, an unprecedented, coordinated sanction response to punish this appalling decision.”

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