Boris Johnson: Invasion would see Russian firms cut off from dollars and pounds

A Russian invasion of Ukraine would lead to sweeping economic sanctions on Russian companies, preventing them from trading with U.S. dollars and U.K. pounds, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday.

The impact of sanctions will extend beyond Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle to “all companies and organizations of strategic importance to Russia,” Johnson said on the BBC.

“We’re going to stop Russian companies raising money on U.K. markets and we’re even, with our American friends, going to stop them trading in pounds and dollars,” he said. “That will hit very, very hard.”

The U.K. leader also warned a conflict in Ukraine could be the “biggest war in Europe since 1945” and lead to a “bloody and protracted conflict.”

But Johnson pushed back on accusations of appeasement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who on Saturday chastised the West for not doing enough to punish Moscow.

The U.K. prime minister said economic penalties would ensure any “lightning war,” even if initially successful, “doesn’t pay off” over time.

While Johnson acknowledged the U.K. has to tackle Russian money in the City of London, he took aim at European countries’ dependence on Russian oil and gas.

“The tragedy is that too many countries in Europe remain absolutely mainlining Russian oil and gas. We need to wean ourselves off that,” he said. “We have an issue with Russian money in the City and we’ve got to deal with that but the much, much bigger issue is Russian hydrocarbons.”

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