PM Of UK Calls For Tougher Sanctions Against Russia

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for more sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Writing in the UK’s Sunday Times, Mr. Sunak said the West needs to be bolder and called on G7 colleagues to seize more assets from the Russian government and pass them on to Ukraine as military aid. 

G7 nations have already confiscated about $600 billion in assets since the war broke out in February 2022 but have so far been unable to funnel this through to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky. At a World Economic Forum summit in Switzerland in January, Mr. Zelensky said Putin loves money above all else, and if it is taken from him, he will “regret starting this war.” Confiscated funds are currently untouched as experts cannot agree on the legality of sending them to Zelensky. 

The Biden administration has previously resisted the idea, but given the Congressional stalemate on further US funding, reports suggest the federal government may change its mind. At the Switzerland summit, Penny Pritzker, the US special representative for Ukraine’s economic recovery, said leaders must “get all the lawyers and all the various governments and all the parties really to come together to sort that through.”

In the latest attempt to move forward with US aid proposals, President Biden met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Mike Johnson, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on February 27. Mr. Johnson, who says he will not present an aid package to the House floor, afterward met with Biden alone but would not tell reporters if he had changed his mind about the $95 billion bill passed by the Senate with bipartisan support. 

House Speaker Johnson did reiterate, however, that his top priority is securing the southern US border, and he will not agree to proposals that don’t include border control. The White House responded by saying Republican demands are unclear. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “I don’t even think he knows what he wants.”